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Seneca Resources Corp. has received federal approval to operate a new drilling wastewater injection well in Elk County, and more of those deep injection wells for the disposal of Marcellus and Utica shale gas drilling wastewater are on tap for Pennsylvania.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced last week that it had approved Seneca’s proposal to convert one of its existing vertical gas wells into an injection well that will pump up to 60,000 gallons a day of drilling wastewater and salty brine about 2,400 feet below the surface into the Elk 3 Sandstone formation.
That formation is about 1,700 feet below groundwater aquifers that supply residential water to residents of the area, said Karen Johnson, chief of the EPA Region III groundwater and enforcement branch.
The EPA has permitted 30,000 Class II injection wells for drilling brine and wastewater disposal nationally — about a third of those in Texas — but the Seneca disposal well is just the ninth such well approved in Pennsylvania.