October 2, 2014

Injection Wells: The Hidden Risks of Pumping Waste Underground

A Series of Articles on the Hazards of Injection Wells
By Abrahm Lustgarten, ProPublica

Injection wells used to dispose of the nation’s most toxic waste are showing increasing signs of stress as regulatory oversight falls short and scientific assumptions prove flawed.

ProPublica reporter Abrahm Lustgarten has launched a new and ongoing investigation into the risks to drinking water posed by the ubiquitous practice of disposing of waste by injecting it underground.

The articles in this series are:

The Trillion-Gallon Loophole: Lax Rules for Drillers that Inject Pollutants Into the Earth
The dangers of injection are well known: In accidents dating back to the 1960s, toxic materials have bubbled up to the surface or escaped, contaminating aquifers that store supplies of drinking water.

Polluted Water Fuels a Battle for Answers
For most of the last decade, Rev. David Hudson has pressed regulators to find out whether his town’s water contamination is related to injection wells. He’s still waiting.

An Unseen Leak, Then Boom
Gas seeps from underground injection wells and triggers explosions in a Kansas town.

Whiff of Phenol Spells Trouble
A landmark case in Ohio topples scientific assumptions as wells guaranteed to entrap waste for at least 10,000 years spring a leak in less than 25.

Injection Wells: The Poison Beneath Us
Lax oversight, uncertain science plague program under which industries dump trillions of gallons of waste underground.