About Class 2 Injection Wells

Class II injection wells in Ohio receive liquid oil and gas waste from Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and other states. They are not designed to receive hazardous waste and create serious risks to human health and the environment. Class II wells provide no known benefit to communities and do not foster job growth.

Class II Injection wells accept waste from deep-shale drilling and hydraulic fracturing (fracking) as well as conventional wells. This waste contains potentially large quantities of undisclosed highly toxic chemicals such as benzene, xylene, naphthalene, formaldehyde, cadmium, mercury, arsenic, and radioactive radium, barium, and strontium. A U.S. Geological Survey report (12/11) found that liquid fracking waste from Pennsylvania had levels of radioactivity over 3,600 times drinking water standards and more than 300 times higher than Nuclear Regulatory Commission limits for industrial discharges to water. This radioactive material comes from deep underground and is more than three times higher than waste from conventional oil and gas wells. (Columbus Dispatch 9-3-12)

Oil and gas industry waste is legally exempt from federal hazardous waste regulations and important portions of the Safe Drinking Water Act and Clean Water Act. These toxic fluids are legally designated “non-hazardous” by virtue of these exemptions––if tested, they would be deemed hazardous and required to be disposed of in class I, hazardous waste injection wells.

Since 2011, with the addition of hydraulic fracturing, Ohio’s class II-D injection wells have injected over 118,981,394 barrels of oil and gas toxic liquid waste into our ground for disposal. This figure does not include the millions of barrels that have been injected into the class II R-wells. This waste came from both in-state and out of state sources. Neither levels of radioactivity, chemical concentrations, nor actual chemical contents of truckloads are regulated or even tracked by Ohio authorities. In Ohio, there is no chemical disclosure to communities as would be required of other waste under the Emergency Planning Community Right to Know laws. Because ODNR does not monitor for water contamination around class II injection wells, and because even class I wells in Ohio have leaked, we are extremely concerned about possible existing water contamination, about the huge volumes of liquids being pumped into our land, and about the rapidly increasing number of injection wells in our communities. Wells eventually leak. Period. State and federal records reveal that during the years 2007 to 2010 one out of every six injection wells inspected failed mechanical integrity testing. ODNR has a long history of ignoring repeated, flagrant violations. It does not enforce even its weak rules, ignores citizens concerns, and denies evidence of problems or risks.

Many existing class II wells are old production wells not even built to the current inadequate state standards for injection. Our communities also face great risk from truck accidents and spills. Class II injection wells have also been linked to earthquakes in Ohio as well as in several other states, including one in Oklahoma that measured 5.7 on the Richter Scale.