Over 9 billion
gallons of hazardous waste are injected underground every year.
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What makes underground
toxic waste so dangerous is that most of us are unaware of
its existence: it is invisible to our basic senses, and we
have little knowledge of its true extent. Industries that inject
waste underground waste don’t monitor it after disposal.
Government agencies that are supposed to regulate underground
toxic waste don’t know where it goes except through highly
speculative computer modeling. There are no plans for
dealing with emergencies arising specifically from the unexpected
appearance of injected toxic waste.
About all we know
about underground toxic waste is that it is very dangerous
and the volume of it is huge. So huge, in fact, that it seems
beyond the imagination to comprehend. Every year, more than
nine billion gallons of hazardous waste is injected underground
by the petro-chemical and other industries. More than two billion
gallons of toxics-containing brine from oil and gas operations
are injected underground every day. Plus, billions of gallons
of automotive, industrial, sanitary and other unknown wastes
are injected underground every year. These practices have been
going on since the 1950s, in the case of hazardous industrial
waste, and even longer with oil and gas drilling waste. But
it has only been since the 1970s that the 800,000 injection
wells in the US have been even minimally regulated.
Are Living On A Timebomb
There are currently
103 active hazardous waste injection wells in Texas, concentrated
mostly along the coast. The volume of the waste being put into
the ground is staggering. Near Beaumont, chemical giant duPont
Company is injecting around a billion gallons of hazardous waste
a high school art teacher who picked a little swath of Wise County
near the small town of Decatur, about 35 miles north of Fort
Worth, to settle down. She lived in a travel trailer for the
first three years while she designed and built her home. The
place is well thought out—its colors blend with the surrounding
landscape of green, rolling hills.
It took Carson 10 years to get to this point. But it took the Railroad
Commission of Texas about 45 seconds to put it all in jeopardy.
to involve communities earlier
Although EPA provides opportunities for public comment on proposed
commercial Class I deep injection wells as required by regulations,
opportunities come late in the process, after a draft permit has
prepared and this timing may limit the extent to which concerns