There is a proposed fracking waste-water well one mile from Masontown, W.Va., less than 500 feet away from Decker’s Creek and the Rail Trail. This potentially produces many risks for the Masontown area and Morgantown.
The red triangle shows the proposed location of the well. The blue line shows Decker’s Creek which runs into the Monongahela River in Morgantown. This is where Morgantown gets its drinking water.
The idea of a waste-water well can be confusing.
“This one is not a fracking well, it’s fracking fluid that can’t be recycled anymore. That old waste water is being injected into a vertical well near Masontown,” said Brian Bellew, a junior geology student at West Virginia University and member of the grassroots group No Injection Well.
This isn’t something you want in your backyard (or for that matter, upstream). Here are four reasons why you should be against this waste-water well:
1. Water Contamination. The biggest reason people are against this well is the potential for water contamination. If this well leaks into Decker’s Creek, it will make its way into the Monongahela River and thus into Morgantown’s water system.
According to Bellew, this waste-water well would contain “99 percent water mixed with really fine quartz sand, mixed with a whole batch of chemicals that are harmful to the human body and a lot of other chemicals that are also unnamed that haven’t been released. I know one is Toulene, which is poison.”
2. Worsening Road Conditions. The roads in this area are small and unpaved, using only dirt and gravel. Large trucks like those with big tanks have no place on a tiny road; they will only destroy them. Not unlike all of West Virginia, the roads are windy, and they pass through residential neighborhoods and the Rail Trail, too.
If one of these trucks crashes, the results could be devastating for the area. Again, this wouldn’t be the first time it has happened.
3. Discouragement of Recreation on the Rail Trail. Since this road passes through the trail, the large trucks will discourage the recreation on the Rail Trail.
As the group’s website states, “Over the last 20 years, the City of Morgantown, Monongalia and Preston Counties, and the State of West Virginia have invested over $10 million in restoring the Deckers Creek Watershed and creating a natural recreational destination. Let’s not allow that effort and money go to waste!”
4. No Economic Benefit for West Virginia. The people of West Virginia don’t see any of the money from this well or fracking company. The Energy Corporation of America, who owns the well, will gain all the profit and economic benefits. Not only do the people of Masontown and Morgantown not receive any benefits, but property values will go down in the Masontown area due to the unattractiveness of the waste-water well and trucks driving through.
The EPA does have stated regulations on waste-water wells, however horizontal drilling is fairly new so not all of the effects have been thoroughly tested. And as Bellew said, “just because it isn’t illegal doesn’t mean it’s not horrible.”