Residents Fight Against Future Saltwater Injection Well - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

Residents Fight Against Future Saltwater Injection Well

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LOVE COUNTY, OKLA. -- A salt water disposal well is where water from oil and gas production is discarded. The water is contaminated so state and federal agencies regulate where and how these wells are drilled. But many residence near Burneyville say that isn't enough.  
It started with a notice in the newspaper that's bringing a love county community to an uproar.

"The saltwater that they're proposing to inject into the ground is a poison," said resident Luther Malone. "And it will kill people. It will kill livestock. It will kill really everything that it comes into contact with."

Last week nearly one thousand residents around Burneyville learned that Cobalt Environmental Solutions wants to drill a saltwater disposal well several thousand feet into the ground. Residence say the issue is that the company will have to drill through the Antlers and Red River aquifers in the area -- their only source of water.  

"If they're contaminated, it just ruins everything for our lives," Malone said.

The residents filed petitions with the Oklahoma Corporation Commission and have a hearing August 3rd to voice their concerns. A judge will issue an recommendation for commissioners -- but Cobalt Environmental says saltwater wells are highly regulated -- and will be built to the industry standard.  

"We're a highly regulated industry, and the OCC has very strict procedures as to how we can drill and complete the well and the appropriate casing around the production pipe," said John Barnidge, the company's CEO.

Residents say that isn't enough,  because they've seen studies of past well failures. A nearby neighborhood of 400 families is working on a petition to stop the well.

"The more people we have to sign the petition will just strengthen our case," said Barbara Selby, the Falconhead General Manager.

 Just a couple of years ago another love county disposal well was shut down after damaging earthquakes began.  

"It broke people's chimney's, cracked their walls," Malone said. "Cracked the brick on their houses."

Cobalt says its done its research, hired experts, and has no reason to believe that will be the case at the new location.

"The geology is substantially different then some of the recent wells that were drilled nearby on a fault-line," Barnidge said. 

Residents in the area have until Friday to file a petition with the Oklahoma Corporation Commission. Barnidge said if all goes well, they hope to start drilling by the end of the year.