Waste­water dis­posal blamed for quakes

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NATIONAL -

EDMOND, Okla. — Util­ity reg­u­la­tors and ge­ol­o­gists said Thurs­day that they sus­pect earthquakes in the Ok­la­homa City area — home to about a third of Ok­la­homa’s pop­u­la­tion — which knocked out elec­tric­ity to some res­i­dents in the wealthy sub­urb of Edmond, were caused by nearby dis­posal of waste­water from oil and gas pro­duc­tion.

The quakes started Tues­day and con­tin­ued into Thurs­day, with at least seven of mag­ni­tude 3.0 or stronger be­ing recorded in an area about 4 miles north­east of Edmond — about 15 miles north­east of Ok­la­homa City. The largest, a mag­ni­tude 4.2 tem­blor, hit Wed­nes­day night.

No in­juries or sig­nif­i­cant dam­age have been re­ported, al­though two Edmond Elec­tric sub­sta­tions were knocked off­line Wed­nes­day, leav­ing about 1,900 cus­tomers without power for about an hour.

The Ok­la­homa Corp. Com­mis­sion, which reg­u­lates util­i­ties, said Thurs­day that the most likely cause is the in­jec­tion of waste­water from oil and nat­u­ral gas pro­duc­tion into dis­posal wells in the area known as the Ar­buckle for­ma­tion, al­though there is a fault line in the area.

Ja­cob Wal­ter, the state seis­mol­o­gist, noted that there are in­jec­tion wells within 6 miles of where the quakes struck.

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