FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – The contentious debate about how to dispose of saltwater produced during natural gas production has spurred The City of Fort Worth to hold a series of public meeting for input.
The saltwater, sometime with other chemicals mixed in, is taken to an injection well site where the water is pumped back underground. Many people fear the long-term effects of the wells.
“I don’t think they should put the salt water back in the ground,” said Fort Worth resident Bennett Graves. “Its gotta be not good for the environment, kills the grass and trees.”
Fort Worth temporarily banned drilling injection wells until some of those concerns could be studied.
Many worry the liquid byproducts of gas drilling that are re-injected into the earth could cause earthquakes or have long term effects on groundwater.
But there are side effects of not having more injection wells in the city limits.
First, gas companies are putting the wells just outside city limits.
The city can’t regulate them and they’re often very near subdivisions without homeowner knowledge.
“I saw them building it,” said north Fort Worth resident Shawn Sullivan about the injection well near his home. “But there wasn’t any information being passed around about what it was.”
The other concern is about damage to roads. The saltwater from drilling sites must be shipped by heavy tanker truck for disposal often leaving cracked and damaged roads in their wake.
“I’ve seen a lot of patchwork so I assume that it does,” said Dijana Babic who drives past one of two injection wells in the city limits “I’ve noticed its bumpy.”
So, Fort Worth is taking the debate to a series of public forums. Not just for input, but to educate voters like Samantha Clayborn.
“Well I just don’t know enough about it to make an informed decision on whether I believe it would be good for the environment or not,” Clayborn said. “If its easy to access that information that would be really great”
The next public meeting on the topic is Jan. 26 at the TCC South Campus.
Recommendations to the council following all 5 meetings are expected in March. The current moratorium runs out in April.