For more than six months, twin brothers Ronald and Donald Schweitzer have watched large amounts of salty wastewater bubble up from the ground in their wheat field. The “saltwater purge” has killed three trees and several acres of crops on their northwest Oklahoma farm.
“Absolutely ruined,” Ronald Schweitzer told a local TV station. “It won’t grow nothing, not unless they dig the dirt out and put new dirt back in.”
The Schweitzers’ property is surrounded by highly-pressurized underground injection wells that store wastewater from oil and gas drilling. After tests confirmed that the saltwater had a similar chemical profile to wastewater dumped in the area, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission shut down eight disposal wells and reduced pumping rates for several more in November. The agency, which regulates the oil and gas industry in the state, has also banned new wells in a 14,000-square-mile area near the Schweitzers’ field.
— source grist.org | Naveena Sadasivam | Jan 22, 2020