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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: September 21, 2023 11:05 AM
From: Senator Katie J. Muth
To: All Senate members
Subject: Banning Toxic Oil and Gas Wastewater Injection Wells
In the near future, I will be introducing companion legislation to House Bill 1656 sponsored by Rep. Charity Grimm Krupa.  This legislation would prohibit the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection from issuing any permits or authorizations for injection waste disposal wells that permit the underground injection of toxic wastewater (also referred to as “produced water” ir “flowback” or “brine”) produced by oil and gas extraction and cradle-to-grave operations.
Protecting the health and safety of our residents is one of the core functions of our government and unfortunately, our legislature too often fails to ensure those protections.
Scientific evidence shows that groundwater contamination can travel beyond 7 miles, depending on the hydrogeology of the impacted area. Many residents who live in rural areas where injection wells are proposed rely on drinking water from their own private wells. Structurally, a disposal well is the same as an oil or gas well – tubes of concrete and steel extend anywhere from a few hundred feet to two miles into the earth. At the bottom of the drilled well, the well opens into a natural rock formation where this toxic waste can migrate into adjacent areas, including into aquifers containing groundwater that is utilized by public and private wells for drinking water supplies.  This toxic waste has already, and will continue to impact the quality of our water supply and the environmental health of our constitutionally protected waterways and ecosystem across our Commonwealth.
Oil and gas waste, including what is disposed of into injection wells, contains high levels of radium-226, a human carcinogen with a half-life of 1,600 years. These radioactive elements and other toxic materials in oil and gas wastewater are threatening to public health and our drinking water supplies.  We cannot permit oil and gas wastewater and the dangerous chemicals it includes to be injected into the ground in our communities.
Please join me in cosponsoring this important, bipartisan legislation to protect the health of our communities by prohibiting oil and gas wastewater injection wells in our Commonwealth.

Introduced as SB950