N.C. Senate Bill 76 would lift the North Carolina ban on deep well injection of industrial waste and allow fracking to begin in 2015.
It paves the way for fracking in the central part of the state, with the intention of using deep injection to dispose of the large amount of toxic waste generated.
N.C. Sen. Buck Newton, who represents a large part of Rocky Mount and other parts of Nash County, is one of its primary sponsors.
Where would the fracking waste be injected? No, not in the middle of the state. In the coastal plain, the only part of North Carolina with the right geological structure for deep injection.
Interviewed by the Raleigh News and Observer last week, N.C. Rep. Rick Caitlin, a Republican from Wilmington who is a hydrogeologist, confirmed this.
“That’s where it would be,” he said. “You’re basically contaminating an aquifer forever.”
Does the possibility of toxic fracking waste being injected in the coastal plain worry Sen. Newton? “I really don’t see it as an issue,” he said. “We’re talking about putting water into a deep area that already has that kind of water.”
Then why was it banned in North Carolina 40 years ago?
Our coastal aquifers have been used just once for chemical injection.
In the 1960s and ’70s, Hercules, a company that manufactured raw materials for polyester fabric production, injected 300,000 gallons of acid per day near Wilmington. The wells, set between 850 and 1,050 feet deep, clogged and leached chemicals into the deep aquifer. Monitoring wells later showed that the chemicals traveled past a clay containment zone and contaminated upper aquifers.
That’s why deep injection was banned here 40 years ago, Sen. Newton.
And I, for one, DO see that as an issue.