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Ohio: Activist Arrested; Brine Tests Show Arsenic, Toluene, Alpha Particles

July 2, 2012

OHIO Fracktion held a press conference today in Columbus, Ohio to release scientific documentation supporting concerns about the health and safety of Ohio citizens due to hazardous substances in fracking flowback. Flowback is now being stored in open pits and re-injected underground in Ohio.

Photo: Madeline Ffitch, an Athens County, Ohio, landowner, was arrested Tuesday, June 26 for blockading the Ginsburg Hazel well in protest of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) failure to test brine.

Ohio Fracktion MEDIA ADVISORY July 2, 2012:

WHAT: Press Conference announcing results from first fracking wastewater brine sample test in Ohio.[1]

WHERE: Statehouse steps, Columbus

WHEN: Monday, 7/2/12. Press Conference at 10 a.m.

Impacted community members from Athens and Monroe County will appear in Columbus Monday morning to announce results from the first fracking wastewater brine sample tested in Ohio.

The results, which reveal high levels of alpha particles, arsenic, barium, and toluene, among other contaminants, are cause for the brine to be classified as “hazardous waste,” according to Ben Stout, professor of biology at Wheeling Jesuit University.[2]

The sample comes from brine stored in an open pit at the Hazel Ginsburg well, an injection site in Athens County. The Ohio Division of Natural Resources (ODNR), despite its legal authority to order brine-testing, has ignored multiple written requests to test the fracking waste materials being injected underground at this well, as well as others across Ohio. In response to a recent inquiry under the Ohio Open Records Law requesting that the ODNR release all testing results relevant to fracking brine, the ODNR provided no test results taken after 1989, nearly two decades before Ohio began to accept higher volumes of waste from the newly developed chemical formula used in hydraulic fracturing operations in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and as far away as Texas.

In a letter to Governor Kasich and ODNR director Jim Zehringer sent Wednesday, May 27, State Rep. Bob Hagan (D—Youngstown) stated:

I am writing to express serious concern that the safety and health of Ohio citizens is in jeopardy from the chemical contents of fracking waste-water…. Given the proliferation of class II injection wells in Ohio, it is imperative that we have timely and accurate research at our disposal in order to best protect our families, communities, and environment. When was the last time ODNR tested the make-up of brine and other fracking waste? …. Why are the concerns of Ohioans being ignored by their own government? I urge you to direct ODNR to examine the enclosed brine testing results, and to make public ODNR’s inspection process for brine and class II injection wells.[3]

Speakers at the press conference will include:

· Ruth Partin, a Monroe County mother who lives near the site of a miles-long brine spill that has not been remediated. Ruth’s 12-year-old daughter will also be present.
· Elisa Young, a community organizer from Athens with extensive experiences requesting brine sampling and other information from the ODNR.
· Madeline Ffitch, an Athens County landowner who was arrested Tuesday, June 26 for blockading the Ginsburg Hazel well in protest of the ODNR’s failure to test brine.

For more information contact Ohio Fracktion at (510) 318-1549 or

PDF of Brine Analysis From Ben Stout

Madeline Ffitch’s testimony is posted separately, here.

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