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DEP to test water near Fayette injection well

LOCHGELLY, W.Va. -- State regulators plan to conduct more water tests near an injection well in Fayette County that pumps oil and gas drilling waste underground.

The Department of Environmental Protection wants to determine whether the well is discharging waste into Wolf Creek.

The Register-Herald reported that water samples taken by the Plateau Action Network and a citizen show elevated levels of chloride and other substances consistent with drilling waste.

DEP spokeswoman Kathy Cosco said the agency is investigating to determine where the samples were taken and whether the well in Lochgelly is the source.

The agency is considering a re-permit application for the well. The deadline for written comments on the re-permit to be submitted to the DEP has been extended until Friday.

Cosco said permit reviewers are examining comments submitted so far, along with notes taken during a June 4 public hearing. A transcript of the hearing will be reviewed when it is available.

A final decision on the re-permit is expected in a couple of weeks, she said.

Environmental groups and some residents say the well poses a threat to health, water resources and property values. They say its history of violations warrants its closure.

The well is owned and operated by Danny Webb Construction. Webb contends he has operated the well legally and plays down past violations.

The well has absorbed more than 1.4 million barrels of waste since its creation in 2002. Concerns over the Lochgelly well date to at least 2004, when a foul odor rolled off the site and into the surrounding neighborhood.


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