A seismograph near a Greeley injection well in early June 2014.
Credit Jim Hill / KUNC
The owner of a waste water disposal well that may have caused earthquakes in the Greeley area now wants to increase the amount it can inject underground by 20 percent – even though smaller earthquakes are still happening.
Through a Colorado Open Records Act request, BizWest reporter Steve Lynn discovered that the company, NGL Water Solutions DJ LLC has submitted a request to the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, asking for permission to inject 2,000 more gallons of waste water into a fracking fluid disposal well.
The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission is requiring operators of a Weld County injection well to alter how wastewater is disposed of in that well, saying they believe the well may be linked to recent earthquakes in the area.
Scientists have linked earthquakes in Oklahoma with wastewater injection wells associated with the oil and gas industry, in a new paper published in the journal Science.
Four injection wells with a "high rate" of injection, meaning they accepted a large quantity of barrels of wastewater per month, likely caused 20 percent of earthquakes in that area from 2008-2013, the researchers said.
The headwaters of the Cuyahoga River run smooth and pudding-brown; warblers dart through flooded underbrush, and the canoe I'm in travels swiftly and silently downstream.
This river, an icon of the modern environmental movement, is perhaps most famous for catching fire multiple times in the 1960s and catalyzing the series of environmental protections the U.S. Congress passed in that era. It's now mostly clean, and serves as a symbol for another environmental problem -- the potential risk the natural gas boom poses to clean water in Ohio and other states experiencing a rush of energy activity.