Four Reasons to Say No to the Waste-Water Well

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.”

“Stress from the high pressure can compromise the well casing, resulting in groundwater contamination” according to No Injection Well’s website. This wouldn’t be the first time it’s happened.

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.

Keep West Virginia wild and wonderful and a great place to live.

Keep West Virginia wild and wonderful and a great place to live.

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.”

Interested in joining the cause? Check out No Injection Well’s website and be sure to sign the petition.

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9 thoughts on “Four Reasons to Say No to the Waste-Water Well

  1. I know this is a major issue for West Virginians. I wish that you would have elaborated a little more on the fact that West Virginia does not receive any profits from this process. Why is that?

    • The Energy Corporation of America owns the well, and they don’t have to pay West Virginia any money to use it. So we have this potential risk on our property, near our water that could affect many West Virginians, but the ECA doesn’t have to pay to put it there in the first place.

  2. Economically, there is not a more externally exploited state than West Virginia. Seriously, the state is absurdly wealthy in terms of resources, yet it’s people, on average, are extremely poor.

    I’m convinced that West Virginia has the most corrupt legislature in the country. One of its long-time senators is a Rockefeller, for god sake.

    • Agreed. As far as Rockefeller goes, he’s done some great stuff socially, but certainly not enough environmentally. The divide in the Democratic party is so strange here. The Democrats are actually very conservative.

      I can understand the viewpoint of caring about jobs before the environment, but in situations like this where there are no jobs…… How can we not stand up against the ECA?

  3. This could be a strong post, but there are some serious sourcing issues here. With the exception of a Scientific American link, all of your information seems to come from No Injection Well’s site. This is clearly an advocacy group; although one may agree or disagree with them, to present them as fact with no acknowledgement is a serious problem. True, there are not always two (valid) sides to a story, but in this case the issue remains debated at multiple levels; even if the evidence seems to add up on No Injection Well’s side, an issue this significant deserves to have the debate reported on, and you’re not doing that. As a result, the SEO-striving hed doesn’t hold up as well as previous posts on this blog because the sourcing is far more limited and one-sided. Can you improve this post to make a more robust case?

    To step away from all that, I have some questions about your map. It’s a good addition, but where does its information come from? Not all the symbols are explained (the red triangle?). In addition, the lines appear blue and purple (not red), at least on my computer.

    • Whoops, the map legend/caption was from an earlier map I made. The red triangle represents where the well would be.

    • The information NoInjectionWell.org has on their website was found to be relevant info to this particular issue. They only add sources of information that are credible.

      ECA only has one other Class II Injection well and it is located in Colorado and was set up last February. There isn’t strong evidence of ECA’s injection well failures because of this.

      Friends of Deckers Creek has spent over $9.5 million to restore the Deckers Creek watershed. One incident with this wastewater well could ruin that. They have had success with stocking brown trout in the area of the creek between Dellslow and Masontown and this is a huge success.

      This is too big of a risk.

  4. As a Geography minor, I know that this is a big issue with people in Morgantown and all across northern West Virginia. I liked the way you broke down the information into the different sections, however I thought maybe you could move the links up higher in the post because, at least on my computer, I had to scroll down a little bit to find them. Also, I liked your use of the map, and thought it added to this post because of the visualization of where this is actually taking place.

  5. I’m not in favor of the well for various reasons. However, reason #1 implies that a leak into Deckers Creek would affect Morgantown’s drinking water system, which would not be the case. The intake for the drinking water plant is upstream of where Deckers Creek enters the Mon.

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