Youngstown Injection Well Linked to Earthquakes Will Be Closed

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After multiple documented earthquakes over several years, including a 4.0-magnitude quake Youngstown in 2011, the owner of an injection well will close it completely. The Youngstown Vindicator reports that North Star Disposal has two years to plug this particular injection well.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources has directly linked this well, the Northstar I, to a series of earthquakes in eastern Ohio. In 2012, the ODNR wrote: "Geologists believe induced seismic activity is extremely rare, but it can occur with the confluence of a series of specific circumstances. After investigating all available geological formation and well activity data, ODNR regulators and geologists found a number of co-occurring circumstances strongly indicating the Youngstown area earthquakes were induced. Specifically, evidence gathered by state officials suggests fluid from the Northstar 1 disposal well intersected an unmapped fault in a near-failure state of stress causing movement along that fault."

Injection wells are used to dispose of fracking wastewater ("brine") by literally injecting it deep into the ground. Much of Ohio's fracking wastewater comes from out-of-state drillers.

After plugging an injection well like this, the ODNR insists that it can never again be used.

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