Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Ohio Man Pleads Guilty to Dumping Toxic Fracking Wastewater Into River

Energy
Ohio Man Pleads Guilty to Dumping Toxic Fracking Wastewater Into River

EcoWatch

By Laura Beans

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Last year, more than 14 million gallons of radioactive toxic fracking wastewater was injected into Ohio's Class II disposal wells, with more than half of the wastewater coming from out-of-state.

While some toxic fracking wastewater is injected into wells, it has also been dumped illegally into streams and rivers, contaminating Ohio's waterways.

According to The Plain Dealer, Michael Guesman, an employee of Hardrock Excavating—a company that stored, treated and disposed of oil and gas drilling waste—appeared in U.S. District Court yesterday admitting that he dumped tens of thousands of gallons of fracking waste into a tributary of the Mahoning River on at least 24 separate occasions.

The Plain Dealer reported that Guesman acted on the orders of his boss, owner Ben Lupo, when he ran a hose from the 20,000-gallon storage tanks to a nearby storm water drain and opened the release valve. A gusher of waste liquid left over from hydraulic fracturing operations poured into the drain, sending saltwater brine and a slurry of toxic oil-based drilling mud, containing benzene, toluene and other hazardous pollutants, flowing into the Mahoning, prosecutors said.

"It is apparent that widespread abuse of our environment has been going on for much longer than has been reported in the media," Ohio State Rep. Robert F. Hagan (D-Youngstown) told EcoWatch today.

"This plea of guilt should open us to even more information on how some in the gas and oil industry have hidden their abuse of our ecosystem and will show their total disregard for anything other than their bottom line," said Hagan. "Greed and money are really a toxic mix."

Despite this illegal dumping, according to Athens County Fracking Action Network, a permit application was submitted this week for yet another injection well for Athens County, by K&HP Partners of West Virginia. The proposed well would permit up to 4,000 barrels a day—more than 61 million gallons a year—of frack waste, most from out-of-state.

“I was shocked to see K&H has submitted an application for a second injection well," said former Athens County Children’s Services Director Andrea Reik. "If approved as expected by ODNR [Ohio Department of Natural Resources], this well will accept more than 61,000,000 gallons of toxic, radioactive frack waste annually to be pumped directly into our land.

“ODNR does not test drinking or other water around waste wells, so it has no idea how often water wells have been contaminated by the pumping of many millions of gallons of toxic, radioactive waste under our land,” continued Reik. “There is great concern being expressed statewide about this assault. Legislation has been introduced into the Ohio House—HB 148—and Senate—SB 178—to ban injection wells in Ohio."

Visit EcoWatch’s FRACKING page for more related news on this topic.

——–

David Attenborough narrates "The Year Earth Changed," premiering globally April 16 on Apple TV+. Apple

Next week marks the second Earth Day of the coronavirus pandemic. While a year of lockdowns and travel restrictions has limited our ability to explore the natural world and gather with others for its defense, it is still possible to experience the wonder and inspiration from the safety of your home.

Read More Show Less
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

By Michael Svoboda

For April's bookshelf we take a cue from Earth Day and step back to look at the bigger picture. It wasn't climate change that motivated people to attend the teach-ins and protests that marked that first observance in 1970; it was pollution, the destruction of wild lands and habitats, and the consequent deaths of species.

Read More Show Less
Trending
An Amazon.com Inc. worker walks past a row of vans outside a distribution facility on Feb. 2, 2021 in Hawthorne, California. PATRICK T. FALLON / AFP via Getty Images

Over the past year, Amazon has significantly expanded its warehouses in Southern California, employing residents in communities that have suffered from high unemployment rates, The Guardian reports. But a new report shows the negative environmental impacts of the boom, highlighting its impact on low-income communities of color across Southern California.

Read More Show Less
Xiulin Ruan, a Purdue University professor of mechanical engineering, holds up his lab's sample of the whitest paint on record. Purdue University / Jared Pike

Scientists at the University of Purdue have developed the whitest and coolest paint on record.

Read More Show Less

Less than three years after California governor Jerry Brown said the state would launch "our own damn satellite" to track pollution in the face of the Trump administration's climate denial, California, NASA, and a constellation of private companies, nonprofits, and foundations are teaming up to do just that.

Read More Show Less