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Published: Monday, 6/20/2011

Ohio becomes dumping ground for out-of-state wastewater from gas drilling process


COLUMBUS, Ohio — Environmental groups are raising concerns as Ohio takes in barrels and barrels of out-of-state brine, a salty byproduct of a method for accessing underground natural gas that was once out of reach.

Tom Tomastik with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources tells The Columbus Dispatch nearly half the brine that went into Ohio disposal wells during the first three months of 2011 came from other states. The newspaper reports 1.18 million barrels were brought into Ohio, enough for 76 Olympic swimming pools.

Tomastik says incoming brine has seen a dramatic increase since Pennsylvania told sewage plants to stop dumping brine into streams.

The Ohio Environmental Council says the state needs to know more about chemicals in the brine. Tomastik says the state’s disposal wells are safe and don’t contaminate groundwater.

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