Wastewater disposal blamed for quakes
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.