Wednesday, August 24, 2016

EPA says 'significant possibility' disposal wells are linked to rise in earthquakes in North Texas

The Environmental Protection Agency said in a report that that agency officials "believe 'there is a significant possibility' that recent earthquakes in North Texas are linked to oil and gas activity," Jim Malewitz reports for The Texas Tribune. Texas, home to thousands of wastewater disposal wells, "is the third-most at-risk state for man-made earthquakes, according to the U.S. Geological Survey—behind only Oklahoma and Kansas." It's believed to be the first time EPA has tied Texas earthquakes to industry activity.

The report states: “In light of findings from several researchers, its own analysis of some cases and the fact that earthquakes diminished in some areas following shut-in or reduced injection volume of targeted wells. EPA believes there is a significant possibility that North Texas earthquake activity is associated with disposal wells." EPA recommended "close monitoring of injection activity'  going forward, coupled with 'appropriate data analysis methods, in a coordinated effort to detect possible correspondence with seismic activity." (USGS map: Seismic activity in Texas from 1973 to Feb. 26, 2016)

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