Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Injection Wells and Salt Dome Collapse

Majia here: Currently Enenews has been following the collapse of a salt dome that had served as a storage place for waste in Assumption Parish.

The emergence of a massive sink hole at the location of the salt dome was the first signal to local residents that a problem existed.

Enenews: CONFIRMED: Salt cavern below sinkhole has failed http://enenews.com/confirmed-salt-cavern-below-sinkhole-has-failed

Majia here: ProPublica recently ran a very interesting story about this practice of injecting all kinds of toxic waste into underground caverns. Salt domes, as I understand it, are one kind of injection well. There are others.

I was appalled. I had no idea that this is common practice and that EPA pollution emission standards do not apply to materials going into these injection wells.

The unfortunate fact is that materials in the ground MIGRATE even when scientists are convinced that they will not.

For example, A review - Subsurface Behavior of Plutonium and Americium at Non-Hanford Sites and Relevance to Hanford - illustrates that plutonium migration is a significant and scientifically inexplicable problem  http://www.pnl.gov/main/publications/external/technical_reports/PNNL-17386.pdf

Materials migrate even when engineers build special compartments that are supposed to prevent migration. This unfortunate fact was recently made clear in a multi-billion dollar waste-containment project that has gone awry http://majiasblog.blogspot.com/2012/09/thanatos-wsj-waste-plant-dispute-builds.html

The disaster at Assumption Parish illustrates how readily salt domes collapse.

I cannot image the risks to fresh water aquifers posed by the migration of materials from, and collapses of, these "wells."

The absolute stupidity of injecting toxic and radiological waste into the ground belies belief.

You will find below a reference to the Propublica article and at the bottom of this post links to more information about salt-dome injection wells.

Injection Wells The Hidden Risks of Pumping Waste Underground

Injection Wells: The Poison Beneath Usby. By A. Lustgarten ProPublica, June 21, 2012, 9:20 a.m. http://www.propublica.org/series/injection-wells

[Excerpted] Over the past several decades, U.S. industries have injected more than 30 trillion gallons of toxic liquid deep into the earth, using broad expanses of the nation's geology as an invisible dumping ground.

No company would be allowed to pour such dangerous chemicals into the rivers or onto the soil. But until recently, scientists and environmental officials have assumed that deep layers of rock beneath the earth would safely entomb the waste for millennia.

Records from disparate corners of the United States show that wells drilled to bury this waste deep beneath the ground have repeatedly leaked, sending dangerous chemicals and waste gurgling to the surface or, on occasion, seeping into shallow aquifers that store a significant portion of the nation's drinking water.

…There are more than 680,000 underground waste and injection wells nationwide, more than 150,000 of which shoot industrial fluids thousands of feet below the surface. Scientists and federal regulators acknowledge they do not know how many of the sites are leaking…

…"In 10 to 100 years we are going to find out that most of our groundwater is polluted," said Mario Salazar, an engineer who worked for 25 years as a technical expert with the EPA's underground injection program in Washington. "A lot of people are going to get sick, and a lot of people may die."

… Structurally, a disposal well is the same as an oil or gas well. Tubes of concrete and steel extend anywhere from a few hundred feet to two miles into the earth. At the bottom, the well opens into a natural rock formation. There is no container. Waste simply seeps out, filling tiny spaces left between the grains in the rock like the gaps between stacked marbles.


Time is Short From Enenews offers three links with information about the dangers of chemicals injected into in salt-domes http://enenews.com/sinkhole-natural-gas-is-coming-out-of-the-ground-everywhere-a-massive-amount-only-7-seconds-of-new-flyover-footage-video

Could It Happen Again? Brenham Explosion Sends Emotional Shock Waves by Allison Seale http://www.allysite.com/brenham.html

[Excerpted] The explosion that rocked the peaceful hills near Brenham on April 7 was felt as far away as Galveston. The emotional shock waves, however, continue to be felt. And, as folks in the Brazos Valley band together in support of the little community of Wesley – a town who had one-third of its population of 60 injured in the disaster – the question raised is: Could this happen again?

…Apparently, the explosion was caused when a large cloud of liquid propane gas escaped from a 350,000 gallon salt-dome storage facility that had been over-filled…

At press time, the accident had resulted in the deaths of three and had left 17 others injured.

Technical aspects of liquid gas storage and list of accidents:

History: Two nuclear explosions at the Tatum Salt Dome in Mississippi:http://mshistory.k12.ms.us/articles/293/nuclear-blasts-in-mississippi


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