"W.Va. Studying Link Between Quakes, Disposal Wells"

"FRAMETOWN, W.Va. — Eight small earthquakes in central West Virginia since April have Chesapeake Energy and the state Department of Environmental Protection discussing the possibility of seismic monitoring near a disposal well for gas-drilling fluids.

Oklahoma-based Chesapeake has injected more than 10.6 million gallons of brine and hydraulic fracturing fluid into the well since March 2009. The underground injection site in the Frametown area has been a permitted disposal well since 2008.

Some geologists suspect high pressure and wastewater have lubricated old fault lines, allowing them to slip and trigger small earthquakes. Chesapeake isn't so sure, but it has agreed to reduce the volume of fluid it's injecting.

Gene Smith, compliance manager for the DEP, said no link has been proven, and no seismic events have been reported at 70 similar disposal wells around West Virginia. Still, he said, the state will investigate."

The Associated Press had the story September 1, 2010.

Thursday, September 2, 2010