Wastewater from fracked wells that produce gas and oil in Pennsylvania and West Virginia is coming to Ohio.
Julie Grant, a reporter who has been researching this issue, says Ohio has become a go-to place for the nation's fracking waste disposal. Grant reports on environmental issues in Ohio and Pennsylvania for the program The Allegheny Front.
"Energy companies point to the geology. They say the layers of underground rock that are better for wastewater storage are easier to access in Ohio, than in Pennsylvania’s hilly Appalachian basin," Grant says.
Pennsylvania is one of the top natural gas producers in the nation, but it’s more difficult to permit a disposal well there. Grant says there are only a few waste disposal wells in the whole state.
Ohio also has industry-friendly regulations. Oil and gas companies need permits to dispose of fracking waste underground.
In other states around the region, including Michigan and Pennsylvania, the Environmental Protection Agency has authority over those permits -- and the process can take a year or more. But in Ohio, the same permits can be issued in a matter of months. That's because Ohio has primacy over injection wells, so the state, not the federal government, issues the permits and the process is often faster.