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Ohio Utica Shale

Activists to fight Ohio's wastewater rule allowing storage pits

By Bob Downing Published: October 14, 2013

A press release received today from a Mahoning Counth grass-roots group:

Youngstown, Ohio, October 14, 2013 –Frackfree Mahoning Valley (FFM) calls for an immediate halt to plans that Ohio state regulators are reportedly implementing by January 1 to use open pits or impoundments for toxic fracking waste.

Additionally, Frackfree Mahoning Valley calls for immediate transparency and increased public and media scrutiny regarding open, exposed, fracking waste pits or impoundments planned for Ohio.

According to a Vindicator article (10/6/13) by Jamison Cocklin titled, “Ohio will soon authorize fracking wastewater pools: Football field-sized ponds to recycle waste.”:

“Fracking waste includes salt, dissolved solids and light radioactive and toxic metals from its contact with underground rocks.Chemicals added to the mixture contain volatile organic compounds, such as benzene and toulene.” [sic]



Furthermore, a WFMJ – TV 21 news report (October 6, 2013) quoted Ohio State Representative Robert Hagan regarding the centralized impoundments. In the news report, State Representative Hagan said:

“The regulations were supposed to go through our committees and instead it goes through the budget and then it goes right through the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. They’remaking the decisions regardless or irregardless of what we think.” (WFMJ – TV news report – 10/6/13)


Frackfree Mahoning Valley asks why the general public and some officials, reportedly, have not been given adequate information or proper protocol by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) in the first place before they decided to permit a previously “banned” procedure, using the word reported in the Vindicator article (10/6/13).

The position of concerned citizens of Frackfree Mahoning Valley is that unconventional horizontal fracking cannot be done safely with the technology as it stands today, and therefore, must be stopped to protect the public’s health, safety, and well-being.Stopping this now is the real solution to the impoundment issue and other fracking – related public health and safety issues, as well as issues related to private property, loss of property value, or other adverse effects upon residents’ quality of life.

FFM believes that this idea to implement centralized impoundments is disturbing. FFM asks why there was not a more transparent public protocol regarding these plans by Ohio regulators? This has the appearance of someone trying to hide something or perhaps ignoring the legitimate health and safety concerns of the public.

The proposed use of open pit fracking waste impoundments should be a concern for pro-fracking advocates or landowners as well as anti-fracking advocates since this is an important public health and safety issue with the potential to affect the general public health and well-being.

It is not fair that the oil and gas industry and a relatively few individuals profit monetarily while too many everyday citizens suffer the adverse effects of shale gas development. Ohio residents are not expendable. Ohio is not a sacrifice zone nor is Ohio a dumping ground for toxic fracking waste.

According to FFM, Ohio, or any state for that matter, should not be a primary waste injection area or exposed impoundment area for the disposal or storage of millions of gallons of toxic fracking waste that continues to be produced by an increasing number of fracking industrial operations. The real solution to the “dumping ground” problem is to stop the production of massive amounts of toxic fracking waste since there is no good solution for where all of this toxic waste should go.

Frackfree Mahoning Valley encourages Ohio to learn from Pennsylvania’s or West Virginia’s experience with open pit fracking waste impoundments. State and local representatives must do proper due diligence regarding these proposed fracking waste pits.

FFM is now looking into information regarding open fracking waste impoundments pits.FFM says it would be happy to help facilitate interviews with appropriate groups or individuals who could provide accurate information about this topic.

The group says that based upon what it has been learning, so far, this is not a good development for Ohio, and it must stop now. Now is the time for concerned Ohio citizens to work to prevent this from coming into their areas and to work for in-depth, open public hearings on this issue where the public can speak freely about its demands regarding fracking waste impoundments. Shining the light of public scrutiny on these plans by ODNR is crucial. The public deserves to be heard and to have their say on this issue.

There seems to be little, detailed, readily accessible information specifically about the impoundments that ODNR is planning for Ohio.Therefore, the impoundment information cited below may or may not be the kind of open pit planned for Ohio.Nevertheless, it does provide information on some of the residents’ real life experience with some PA impoundments.

FFM says it does not want to find our local Ohio communities in a similar situation as that depicted in the following 2010 video, which may or may not be about the kind of fracking waste pit impoundments planned for Ohio. (We also hear that corrections had been made in an effort to remedy the issue in the following video.)

Especially hear testimony starting at 4 minutes 10 seconds:


The caption for a Youtube video published on September 28, 2013 says: “Special Mount Pleasant Township, Pa supervisors' meeting on 4 impoundments for shale drilling fluids.”

(Especially see testimony beginning at minute 44 and 01 seconds):

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An article by Pittsburgh Tribune-Review staff reporter, Jason Cato, titled “Mt. Pleasant officials postpone decision on drilling water storage pits,” (October 8, 2013) can be found at:


Here is another article from the Pittsburgh Tribun- Review by Timothy Puko, August 31, 2013, “Risky gas drilling waste pits anger Mt. Pleasant neighbors”:



Frackfree Mahoning Valley says that too many questions regarding the proposed open fracking waste pits remain unanswered.For example, does ODNR plan to permit these impoundments near homes, farms, schools, or residential areas? What exactly is in this fracking waste that is exposed? Will ODNR permit the impoundments to be placed in flood plains? Plastic liners to prevent leakage of toxic fracking waste do not sound secure or safe to FFM. What have other states experienced regarding leakage or contamination? Does ODNR really believe that plastic liners can prevent leaks or contamination, and, if so, where is the scientific proof and documentation of this?Does ODNR have any plans to allow permits for converting freshwater impoundments to fracking waste “flowback” impoundments?

Furthermore, what adverse effects might the use of these open fracking waste impoundments have on the multi-billion dollar tourism industry in Ohio?Shale gas and oil is not the only industry in Ohio.

(According to a Vindicator AP article, tourism is the fourth-largest industry in Ohio “supporting 443,000 jobs” and $43 billion annually:

See “Ohio House panel discusses attracting tourists,” September 10, 2013), AP:


The public has a right to ready access to all available independent, accurate, scientific and public health and safety information regarding the use of open pit impoundments. The public, first responders, and local officials have a right to know what is being planned by the state for their local communities. FFM says the plan to permit a previously “banned” procedure must stop in the best interests of the public.


Please see the very important AP article that was posted on the WFMJ-TV website titled, “Ohio drilling chemicals must be reported locally,” September 30, 2013.


Frackfree Mahoning Valley renews its call for public, open, televised or otherwise broadcast conversation with anti-fracking and pro-fracking advocates in real time. The public deserves to know the full picture regarding fracking, fracking related processes, and infrastructure.

To see a picture of one of these impoundment “lagoons” and a news article titled, “Big lagoons could hold Ohio fracking waste,” by Spencer Hunt, The Columbus Dispatch (October 11, 2013) visit:


For more information please visit:www.frackfreeamerica.organd

or please call Frackfree Mahoning Valley at:

234-201-0402or e-mail FFM



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Utica and Marcellus shale web sites

Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management State agency Web site.

ODNR Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management. State drilling permits. List is updated weekly.

ODNR Division of Geological Survey.

Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

Ohio State University Extension.

Ohio Farm Bureau.

Ohio Oil and Gas Association, a Granville-based group that represents 1,500 Ohio energy-related companies.

Ohio Oil & Gas Energy Education Program.

Energy In Depth, a trade group.

Marcellus and Utica Shale Resource Center by Ohio law firm Bricker & Eckler.

Utica Shale, a compilation of Utica shale activities.

Landman Report Card, a site that looks at companies involved in gas and oil leases.FracFocus, a compilation of chemicals used in fracking individual wells as reported voluntarily by some drillers.

Chesapeake Energy Corp,the Oklahoma-based firm is the No. 1 driller in Ohio.

Rig Count Interactive Map by Baker Hughes, an energy services company.

Shale Sheet Fracking, a Youngstown Vindicator blog.

National Geographic's The Great Shale Rush.

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Earthjustice, a national eco-group.

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People's Oil and Gas Collaborative-Ohio, a grass-roots group in Northeast Ohio.

Concerned Citizens of Medina County, a grass-roots group.

No Frack Ohio, a Columbus-based grass-roots group.

Fracking: Gas Drilling's Environmental Threat by ProPublica, an online journalism site.

Penn State Marcellus Center.

Pipeline, blog from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Marcellus shale drilling.

Allegheny Front, environmental public radio for Western Pennsylvania.