Ohio: A Fracking Waste Dumping Ground?

Toxic fracking waste from out of state

Fracking waste generated in the region has increased 540 percent since 2004.

  • Fracking produces enormous amounts of waste contaminated with toxic chemicals, heavy metals, corrosive salts and radioactive material.
  • In 2011, Ohio dumped 12.8 million barrels of toxic, radioactive waste into injection wells—injecting toxic waste into the ground as a means of disposing it.
  • Over half of Ohio’s waste is imported from Pennsylvania and West Virginia, making our state the region’s dumping ground.
  • Hazardous fracking waste can be put into municipal water treatment plants, dumped into landfills, left in open pits, and even spread on roads as de-icer.

A wave of waste from Pennsylvania

From September 2012 to January 2013, Hardrock Excavating LLC dumped at least 252,000 barrels of toxic fracking waste directly into a tributary of Youngstown’s Mahoning River.The incident highlighted the growing threats to our environment as Ohio fracking operations create more and more fracking waste—and as the state imports millions of barrels more from Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

After Pennsylvania moved to strengthen its fracking waste rules in 2010, drillers found it cheaper and easier to dispose of their hazardous waste in Ohio. Industry lobbyists got fracking waste exempt from federal hazardous waste laws, leaving Ohio even more vulnerable. Across the region, fracking waste has increased a staggering 540 percent since 2004, with more being produced each year.

No more fracking waste

There is no good way to dispose of fracking waste. And Ohio should not be the region's dumping ground for this toxic waste. Through our reports and education campaigns, Environment Ohio Research & Policy Center is working to expose the harmful effects of fracking waste in our state.

Issue updates

Report | Environment Ohio Research & Policy Center

Fracking by the Numbers

Over the past decade, the oil and gas industry has fused two technologies—hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling—in a highly polluting effort to unlock oil and gas in underground rock formations across the United States.

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News Release | Environment Ohio Research & Policy Center

Fracking by the Numbers: New Report from Environment Ohio Research and Policy Center First to Quantify Damage Done by Gas Drilling

Youngstown, OH — As many Ohioans consider community bans on drilling and state officials demand disclosure of fracking chemicals, a new report charges that Ohio drilling operations are  producing 30 million gallons of wastewater each year – enough to flood the Ohio statehouse under 90 feet of toxic waste. The Environment Ohio Research & Policy Center report "Fracking by the Numbers" is the first of its kind to measure the footprint of fracking in Ohio to date.

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News Release | Environment Ohio Research & Policy Center

Environment Ohio’s Report Shows Ohio’s Weak Bonding Rules Leave Communities Exposed to Drilling Damage

Raising new concerns on a little-examined dimension of the fracking debate, Environment Ohio Research & Policy Center today released a report analyzing Ohio’s financial assurance requirements for oil and gas drilling operations.  Who Pays the Costs of Fracking? shows how Ohio’s bonding requirements are completely inadequate to cover the cost and range of damage from dirty drilling.

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Report | Environment Ohio Research & Policy Center

Who Pays the Cost of Fracking

"Fracking” operations pose a staggering array of threats to our environment and health – contaminating drinking water, harming the health of nearby residents, marring forests and landscapes, and contributing to global warming. Many of these damages from drilling have significant “dollars and cents” costs.

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News Release | Environment Ohio

Youngstown Fracking Waste Spill Evidence of Broader State Negligence

COLUMBUS – A week after the dumping of at least 20,000 gallons of toxic and potentially radioactive fracking waste into the Mahoning River by Hard Rock Excavating, state regulators have yet to disclose information about the quantity of waste and the chemicals involved. Environmental advocates are urging the state to act quickly to prosecute the perpetrator and look beyond the one incident to take more aggressive steps to protect the state’s public health and environment from future threats.

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