Buckeye Brine seeks to diversify with well conversion

| June 21, 2018

COSHOCTON – Buckeye Brine, founded in 2011, has three operating brine injection wells at the company facility on Airport Road. The company has filed with the Ohio EPA to convert two of the three Class II wells into Class I non-hazardous injection waste wells. The facility employs 38 people and recently contributed to the repaving of a portion of Airport Road that is heavily used by the trucks hauling brine to the site.

“This will give us a more diverse customer base”, said Steve Mobley, president of the company. “The new permit will require more quality control. Our operation already meets or exceeds most Class I standards. In addition we are adding a regulator to review the operation. Instead of just the ODNR (Ohio Department of Natural Resources) we will now also have the Ohio EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) rules to follow.

“One well will remain under the ODNR while the other two will come under the Ohio EPA rules.

The company has had zero violations, zero recordable incidents and zero lost time. “You don’t go seven years by being lucky day in and day out.” The safety manual is a thick three ring binder.

Dave Durakovich, vice president of operations for the company said, “Non-hazardous waste streams include: waste from food processing operations such as cheese making or pickling, wash waters from industrial equipment, and wastewaters generated by coal-fired power plants and municipal landfills.

Prior to the Clean Water Act of 1976 the majority of waste went directly into rivers and streams.

“Much of the waste that we are talking about taking may now go to a municipal waste water treatment plant and simply be diluted,” said Durakovich. “Discharge regulations are getting tighter and are discouraging these age-old practices.

“There are currently ten Class I injection wells in the state of Ohio. All of them have permits to inject hazardous waste, unlike the kind of permits Buckeye Brine is seeking. All of the options for non-hazardous wastewaters sooner or later result in discharging wastewaters in the rivers and streams.”

Currently, the injections at Buckeye Brine are sent a mile deep into the earth into a rock formation that acts like a sponge. “Typically there is void space in there, like a sponge. In our case, the primary is a rock formation with holes in it.

“We start with a short pipe, right at the surface to 40 feet down. The next layer of pipe goes down to below the drinking water zone, the lowest level of drinkable water, which is down around 850 feet. That is encased in cement and a steel pipe. The next pipe that goes down goes through all the intervening layers until we get to the top of our injection casing that is down 6,000 feet.

“Between that pipe and the surface is another layer of cement that runs all the way back up to the surface in a Class I well. In a Class II well, you only need to have 300 feet above the injection zone”.

The main difference between the two (types of wells) is that extra amount of cement.

The three operating wells at Buckeye Brine are all built to the standards of a Class I well.

Durakovich said, “It is a business decision and a concern that an oil and gas producer might not want us going into a Class I well with their wastes just because all their approval procedures have evolved around Class II wells.

“Injection wells have been around for almost 90 years. Most people don’t realize that for every barrel of oil produced on an average you produce 10 barrels of water. You have to do something with it. This technology has been evolving over the years but it’s still fairly standard.

“Our primary surface containment is our tanks; our secondary containment is the concrete dike area around the tanks. It’s all watertight. We also have a 60 mil polyethylene liner under the whole structure in the event of a leak that we don’t identify right away.

“Some of what we did for protection didn’t cost a lot. But it helps us sleep at night. It also lets our customers go home and sleep at night.

“We’re not in a highly seismic area. Coshocton was picked for a lot of reasons not the least of which was seismic.

“Before we were allowed to drill or start operating Well Number 3 we were required to put in some seismic monitoring stations and monitor for a period of time. We have continued that since then and it’s now been four years. We continue to monitor seismic activity and there has been nothing here.

“Periodically, we’ll be required to do several tests that confirm where the fluid is going and how the formation we’re injecting into is handling it. The requirements include a radioactive tracer test, a pressure test and a reservoir falloff test. These types of tests have been around a long time and these requirements are pretty standard. With the Class I permits, we’ll do them more frequently.

“Right now we exceed – or will exceed – the standards for a Class I well.

“Before we approve a waste stream to come into our facility, the waste generator will send us a profile sheet and a representative sample that shows us what to expect when we receive a shipment. When a load comes in to our facility, we analyze a sample along with the shipping paperwork to make sure it’s a match with what we approved for acceptance. Along with safety issues, our number one priority is to ensure that we never receive hazardous waste. We won’t be allowed to and don’t want to.”

The company said that “brine solutions – which are remarkably inert-and their trace contaminants-are not subject to any unusual reactivity with any non-hazardous waste streams that they are aware of. If a stream had the potential for a significant reaction with anything-either brine or other non-hazardous waste, it shouldn’t get through our approval process. But it’s doubtful that any non-hazardous streams would have that characteristic to begin with.”

Durakovich said, “Non-hazardous industrial waste for Class I wells will have a schedule for delivery while the oil and gas water for our Class II operation does not.

“We will be putting in higher pressure annular testing and will add some cement near the top of the Adams One well. We’re about 300 feet short of having cement all the way back to the surface.

“This will not be more volume into our facility. If anything it will be less volume.

“The permit process is arduous and lengthy. We have been at this for almost two years. Right now we’re responding to Ohio EPA’s last round of questions.

“We’re only taking non-hazardous waste. It just does not make any sense to do anything different. It’s not more trucks. Some of this is likely to be from businesses that are upstream from Coshocton and it lets them keep it out of the rivers. This is a stronger customer base and operating under rules that demand a higher level of quality control. The facility already meets or exceeds the standards in most important respects.

“When people ask why this has never been done before, no one has ever built a Class II well to a Class I standard. So they never had a shot at doing this. We are now in a position to take advantage of doing that.”

Editor’s note: For more information and answers to frequently asked questions about the conversion process you can visit the Buckeye Brine website at www.buckeyebrine.com.

This article is being published to reflect The Beacon’s policy of being fair and transparent in covering events in Coshocton County that impact the community. An article was previously published in The Coshocton County Beacon that covered the first public meeting held by C.E.C.A. (Coshocton Environmental and Community Awareness) regarding the Buckeye Brine well conversion application process through the Ohio EPA. You can visit their website at www.cecaware.org.

Category: Business

About the Author ()

I live with my beautiful wife Nancy on a small farm just outside Coshocton. We have been married for thirty two years and have two grown children, Jessica and Jacob. Jessica is married to Aaron Mencer and they are employed with Coshocton City Schools. Jacob is a sophomore at Kent State University. I graduated from River View High School, have a Bachelor’s Degree from North Carolina Wesleyan University and am actively involved with the Roscoe United Methodist Church, serve on several local committees and am a member of the Coshocton Kiwanis Club, having served as Past-President. I love reading, especially military thrillers, the Civil War and history in general. My goal is to write a novel. My wife and I are also AdvoCare distributors and encourage anyone wanting to lose weight, gain energy and better health to explore AdvoCare at our website; www.fortunes4advocare.com. I love the media field, innovative technology and have worked in newspapers for over 30 years – in fact, my first job was delivering newspapers. The Beacon is a dream made possible by the support of this community and a great team. I hope to continue serving Coshocton County for many years.

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