LOCHGELLY, W.Va. -- Environmental and property owner groups are opposing the renewal of a state permit for an underground injection well in Fayette County that's used to dispose of waste from oil and gas operations.
The Natural Resources Defense Council and the West Virginia Surface Owners' Rights Organization say the site has a history of violations and noncompliance, and they question the Department of Environmental Protection's ability to regulate such wells.
The Register-Herald reports the groups voiced their concerns in a letter to the DEP. Citizens' complaints include heavy truck traffic, odors and fear of water pollution.
Jamie Peterson, who oversees Class II injection wells for the DEP, said the agency has made progress in the permitting, testing and monitoring of injection wells, and past violations at the Lochgelly site have been addressed.
Streams are also monitored now to ensure that a settling pit onsite doesn't pollute a tributary of Wolf Creek, Peterson said.
The well was originally permitted in 2002 and is now going through the renewal process.
"Everything I do is legal. I stay within the law and if something goes wrong, we correct it immediately,'' said owner-operator Danny Webb.
"In 30 years, I may have had three violations and they were abated immediately,'' he said. "We've never had a spill. We've never been cited for contamination.''