The new regulatory framework makes Ohio's rules for brine monitoring and disposal among the nation's toughest. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) developed the new regulations after researching a link between a series of seismic events in the Youngstown area and a brine disposal well.
The new safeguards include a prohibition against any new wells being drilled into the Precambrian basement rock formation; mandating that operators submit extensive geological data before drilling; and implementation of state-of-the-art pressure and volume monitoring devices including automatic shut-off switches and electronic data recorders.
In addition, ODNR will require that brine haulers install electronic transponders to ensure "cradle to grave" monitoring of all shipments.
The regulations will apply to new Class II disposal well permit applications and potentially existing disposal wells. The state of Ohio maintains primacy and administers programs regulated by the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, including the Underground Injection Control Program which includes Class II disposal wells.
All of the new requirements will be immediately implemented as supplemental permit conditions while pending formal rule-making.
ODNR also released a preliminary report on the relationship between the Northstar 1 Class II disposal well and 12 Youngstown area earthquakes. The report?s executive summary which includes a review of the new permit requirements is available here. The full report is available here. The FAQ document is available here.