Frack Waste Injection Wells in Fayette County WV Under Pressure

by Duane Nichols on May 23, 2015

Tanker Truck for Frack Wastewater

Fayette County  Injection Wells at Lochgelly (WV) Stir Controversy

Action Alert Letter of Tom Rhule, Communications Director, WV Mountain Party, May 22, 2015

On May 14th the WV Environmental Quality Board “EQB” decided to allow Danny Webb Construction continue dumping hydro fracking waste at that Fayette County site without a permit. This is alarming.

It is also disturbing that the WV Dept. of Environmental Protection “WV-DEP” has never cited this operator nor ordered remediation, considering that a Duke University scientist found undisputed evidence of this waste in nearby Wolf Creek. But what is most alarming, is that as far as anyone can tell, that site is still leaking fracking-related toxins and dangerously high radioactivity.

When it comes to industrial dumping, the WV-DEP has never failed to live up to its reputation as the Department of Everything Permitted, especially when backed by the governor-appointed EQB and all the Friends of Cancer who pull the strings in the Statehouse. By the way, there are literally over a thousand industrial waste injection wells strewn all over the State.

So the good citizens of Fayette county have basically been left to their own defenses. And although on May 18, the Fayette County Zoning Board recommended that the County Commission regulate future injection wells through a stringent permitting process, unfortunately that plan will not stop Danny Webb Construction, nor any other currently operating injection site from polluting the county’s waters.

This has been a real problem for quite some time. The West Virginia American Water 2011 Source Water Assessment and Protection Plan for Fayette District PWSID WV330L046 clearly states that “hydrofracking fluid is being injected into abandoned mines.” In fact, page 7 of that Plan lists the dumping of frack waste into abandoned mines, as one of the highest priorities with respect to water contamination. And that was 4 years ago.

Once again, the County Commission’s current zoning recommendation fails to ban it.

The petition that we are circulating urges the Fayette County Commission to immediately pass an ordinance that will make it illegal to dump frack waste and coal slurry anywhere within the county. Passing that ordinance will tell the world that Fayette County is not a sacrifice zone. But it’s going to take your support to make that happen.

On Wednesday, May 27th, at 9:00 am, the Fayette County Commission will hold its regularly-scheduled meeting. On the agenda is the Zoning Committee’s recommendation, where I intend to introduce the ordinance to ban industrial waste dumping outright. Scheduled at the Fayette County Courthouse and open to the public, your showing up to support the passage of an outright ban will be empowering.

If you haven’t already signed the petition now going door-to-door urging the Fayette County Commission to ban industrial waste dumping, there is a copy at the Cathedral Cafe in Fayetteville. Or, you may endorse a digital petition online at by clicking on the orange-colored YODO – You Only Die Once – button. Accuracy counts, so only one signature per citizen, please!

Citizen activists Tom Rhule of the Mountain Party and Brandon Richardson of Friends of Water will hold a press conference immediately Commission’s meeting on May 27th outside the Courthouse to answer questions and provide details about the petition drive and proposed ordinance.

Tom Rhule, Communication Director, Mountain Party of WV


Note:  See also the Fact Sheet from the WV-DEP on the two Lochgelly injection wells.

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Fayette Tribune (5/20/15) May 23, 2015 at 3:03 pm

“Lochgelly wastewater injection well shutdown reversed”

By Sarah Plummer, Fayette Tribune, Fayetteville, WV, May 20, 2015

The West Virginia Environmental Quality Board overruled May 14 the WV Department of Environmental Protection’s order to shut down underground injection wells operated by Danny E. Webb Construction in Lochgelly, confirmed board clerk Jackie Shultz.

The board approved Danny Webb’s motion to stay the shutdown order, allowing the operation to dispose of fracking waste without a permit — the same activity the board declared unlawful in April.

An evidentiary hearing before the board on Danny Webb’s appeal is set for July 9. It is unclear if the waste disposal will continue until after the evidentiary hearing since a written order has not yet been been prepared.

For residents, environmental groups and elected officials in Fayette County, the decision comes as a shock.

Neither Bradley Keenan, a Lochgelly resident and plaintiff in the case resulting in the shutdown order, nor his attorney, Tom Rist, were informed of Webb’s appeal or the motion to stay the decision to shut down.

On April 8th the board ruled it was unlawful for the site to dispose of fracking waste under a DEP order and without proper permit. At that time, the board gave the DEP 30 days to either issue a new permit or shut down operations.

After the 30-day period, and in accordance with the quality board’s ruling, the DEP Office of Oil and Gas issued a shutdown order. Under that order, Webb was to stop all operations indefinitely.

Fayette Commission President Denise Scalph said she is “not at all happy” about the decision.

“Knowing the history of the site and our involvement, somebody should have been notified of this hearing. As a courtesy, if not required by law,” she said. The commission was told Tuesday the hearing did not require public input and outside parties did not need to be notified, she said. “We are committed to pressing hard and pressing forward to eliminate this kind of waste,” added Scalph. “This is all the more reason we have to develop some kind of process to give us authority.”

On Monday, the county moved forward on an amendment to Fayette County’s Unified Development Code that will require injection control wells to have a county-level permit before applications are considered by the DEP. The Fayette County Commission will consider adopting the changes May 27 at a 10:30 a.m. public hearing.

DEP spokeswoman Kelley Gillenwater confirmed the permit applications for two underground injection control wells at the Danny Webb Construction site are still under review.


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