Injection well questions answered news a gaseous mixture contains

An injection well is a device that places fluid deep underground into porous rock formations, such as sandstone or limestone, or into or below the shallow soil layer. The fluid may be water, wastewater, brine (saltwater) or water mixed with chemicals.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency has created six “classes” of injection wells. In Kansas, Class I, III, IV, V and VI injection wells are regulated by either the Kansas Department of Health and Environment or the EPA. The Kansas Corporation Commission regulates Class II injection wells. Class II injection wells are used to inject fluids associated with oil and gas production into the ground. The proposed well in Morris County is a Class II injection well.

There are approximately 16,600 permitted Class II injection wells in Kansas, according to the KCC. There are two types of Class II injection wells. The first — disposal wells like the one proposed in Morris County — are used to inject fluids into rock formations that do not produce oil or gas. The formations are isolated from usable quality groundwater and are sealed above and below by unbroken and impermeable rock formations. There are about 5,000 disposal wells in Kansas.

The second type, known as secondary or enhanced oil recovery wells, are used to inject fluids into formations or reservoirs that produce oil or gas. The formations are also isolated. Injection of fluid into these formations often allows for increased recovery of oil or gas reserves. There are about 11,600 secondary enhanced oil recovery wells in Kansas.

The U.S. Geological Survey has concluded wastewater disposal is the primary cause of the recent increase in earthquakes in the central United States. Additionally, the organization advises such earthquakes can occur at distances of 10 miles or more from the injection site as fluids migrate underground. This would make all of southern Morris and northern Chase counties at risk for induced earthquakes regardless of the exact location or depth of wastewater injection.

“The main issue we have with the injection wells is the science is very clear — when these injection wells are located near faults as this proposed injection well is — the likelihood of earthquakes is high,” Joe Spease, Chairman of the Fracking Committee of the Kansas Sierra Club, said.

Kansas has experienced an increase in earthquakes related to injection wells — most noticeably in Harper and Sumner Counties. From 1981 through 2010, Kansas experienced 30 recorded earthquakes, in 2013 there were four recorded earthquakes. In 2014, the number jumped substantially to 127. Then from just Jan. 1, 2015 – March 16, 2015 there were 51 recorded earthquakes, according to the KCC.

One big difference is the location of the proposed injection well. According to the application, the well site is in the Arbuckle Formation. The site directly overlies a buried basement uplift known as Nemaha Ridge. It is flanked on the eastern side by the Humboldt Fault zone with multiple, parallel faults trending generally north-northeast. Faults on the Humboldt zone have been active historically, according to James Aber, geology expert and distinguished professor at Emporia State University.

Injection wells allow for the disposal of wastewater that is too toxic to come in contact with useable water. The water, if disposed of improperly, could be harmful to animals or people. The Kansas Corporation Commission says the primary reason cited by operators for injecting the fluid is that it is significantly less expensive than recycling.

“The benefits are restricted to that exclusive group (the oil and gas companies),” Spease said. “The landowners do get money, it’s not much, there is a fee but it is usually confidential. Their contracts are usually nondisclosure confidentially agreements but they do get a small fee.”

The commission’s regulations are specifically tailored to protect underground sources of drinking water from harm from improper injection. The regulations follow national guidelines under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act regarding surface and groundwater protection.

All injection wells require three layers of casing. The first protective layer is surface casing. Surface casing consists of a steel pipe, partially or totally encased in cement, reaching from the surface to below the deepest usable groundwater level. Surface casing acts as a protective sleeve through which deeper drilling occurs.

“It is almost inevitable that at some point that cement casing that is holding this water will crack or crumble or break and all that stuff that is under pressure then gets into the water supply,” Spease said. “Even though it may not happen immediately, over time it is practically inevitable that at some point it will pollute our fresh water.”

The Kansas Corporation Commission is in the process of scheduling a hearing related to the injection well application. To express support or opposition for the injection well, contact the commission at Interested individuals may also track the case progress at the same website using docket number 17-CONS-3484-CUIC.

You have actually put out false information yourself, so you should do some research into the real issues before touting the same lines as the fringe environmental groups such as the Kansas Sierra Club. You’ve claimed in other postings that oil & gas companies don’t have to disclose chemicals when they hydraulically fracture wells. That’s simply false. has been around for almost 10 years!

Also, with regard to wastewater injection, which is a completely separate process: we have nearly 16k such wells in Kansas and NEVER has one polluted ground water/drinking water. There have been 1 MILLION fracked wells in the U.S. (again a separate process) and NOT one instance of ground water/drinking water pollution has occurred. EPA under the leftist Obama confirmed that process is safe.

Finally, there have been 4 injection wells operating in the subject area for DECADES and again, not one instance of seismic activity in that area. The area in Kansas which has had seismic activity has been heavily regulated by the KCC and guess what happened? Kansas went from 1,100 earthquakes prior to wastewater disposal restrictions to 211 smaller quakes post-new restrictions and the number keeps going down. Regulations are working is the bottom line.