DeWine weighs in on brine treatment permits

Bryan Cohen Nov. 2, 2011, 12:56pm


COLUMBUS, Ohio (Legal Newsline) - Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced on Tuesday that he has determined that certain permits governing treatment and disposal of brine from oil and gas wells were not issued legally.

The permits were issued in Trumbull County by the former director of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. In two appeals involving permits issued to the city of Warren and Patriot Water Treatment LLC pending at the Environmental Review Appeals Commission, DeWine filed a determination of unlawful permit issuance and request for remand.

The action taken by DeWine indicated that permits issued to Patriot and the city of Warren were not in compliance with Revised Code Section 1509.22. That provision mandates that all brine and other fluids generated by gas and oil well drilling, including fracking liquids, must be disposed of through methods specified in that statute. The permits issued to Patriot and Warren were allegedly not issued for any of the statutorily approved methods.

"It is my determination that the permits issued previously did not have a basis in the law," DeWine said. "The safety of Ohio's water is too important to put at risk as most wastewater treatment plants don't currently have the proper technology for adequately treating fracking fluids."

The action by DeWine is consistent with determinations made by the current director of the Ohio EPA that brine and fracking fluids should not be managed by wastewater treatment plants unless the plant employs a certified innovative technology, which Patriot's and Warren's do not.

DeWine has asked the commission to dismiss the appeals and return the permits to the director of the Ohio EPA for further action.

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