Toxic wastewater ends up in Vickery

Theory: Local well possible cause of Clyde cancer cluster
Tom Jackson
May 10, 2014
If you follow environmental news at all, you probably heard about the big chemical leak in West Virginia in January that contaminated water for hundreds of thousands of people and polluted the Ohio River.

But you may not know quite a bit of the contaminated water wound up in northern Ohio.

Between 40,000 and 45,000 gallons of water polluted by MCMH, or 4-methylcyclohexane methanol, a chemical used for cleansing coal, was injected into a deep well in Vickery used for getting rid of hazardous wastes, said Dina Pierce, a spokeswoman for the Ohio EPA.

The four wells at the site are heavily regulated, and there’s no evidence waste from them has left the area where it’s supposed to be, Pierce said. She said the EPA maintains a full-time employee on the site to monitor the four Vickery environmental wells that are licensed by the EPA.

According to an article published Jan. 9 in the Charleston Gazette, residents in eight West Virginia counties and part of a ninth were warned not to drink, cook or wash with water supplied by West Virginia American Water after the chemical spill. The Wall Street Journal reported Feb. 21 that about 10,000 gallons of the chemical spilled into water during the incident, affecting about 300,000 people. The company blamed for the accident, Freedom Industries, filed for bankruptcy after being hit with about 20 lawsuits.

Pierce said the MCMHcontaminated water that was pumped into the Vickery well is considered toxic waste but is not considered hazardous waste. The wells in Vickery are allowed to take hazardous waste, she said.

Since new regulations went into effect in the mid-1980s, there have been no releases from the wells, Pierce said. In 2008, an injection tube at the site cracked and was fixed, she said.

Four wells are currently operated in Vickery, each under a separate permit. The wells in Vickery are classified as Class 1 injection wells.

“Class I wells inject hazardous and non-hazardous wastes into deep, isolated rock formations that are thousands of feet below the lowermost underground source of drinking water,” according to the Ohio EPA’s website.

“Class I injection wells inject far below the lowermost aquifer. Injection zones typically range from 1,700 to more than 10,000 feet in depth. The injection zone is separated from any aquifers by an impermeable ‘cap’ rock called the confining layer, along with additional layers of permeable and impermeable rock and sediment,” the website states.

A Frequently Asked Questions document at the Ohio EPA’s site includes an answer to the question, “How does the Ohio EPA know that the wastes stay where they are injected?”

The answer: Many different tests are carried out.

“There are numerous tests to determine fluid movements; one test uses a temperature sensor run through the length of the well to identify zones which have accepted fluid. Testing with an advanced microphone system allows recognition of flow behind cemented casing. Annual pressure fall-off testing provides information on the condition of the injection interval including the presence or absence of fractures. Finally, ground water monitoring is also conducted at facilities. Monitoring wells are used to observe ground water quality in the lowermost USDW or to monitor pressure and chemistry in deeper zones above the injection interval”

The Vickery wells are located near the Clydearea cancer cluster, a series of cancer cases that have sickened and killed young people in the Clyde area.

Writing in a July 30, 2013, “For Thinking People” blog post at the Sandusky Register’s website, local environmentalist Ruth Haag argued the Vickery wells should not be overlooked as a possible source of the cancers.

Citing a state health department report, which she linked to, Haag wrote the Vickery wells had problems in the 1970s and early 1980s, before new regulations took effect, that allowed wastes to get into areas where they weren’t supposed to be.

“The mystery to me now is why no one talks about this” Haag wrote.

The 51-page report Haag cited, “Childhood Cancer among Residents of Eastern Sandusky County,” is posted as a PDF on the website of Sandusky County’s health department, alwayschoosehealth.com  . It discussed the Vickery wells and other possible sources of the cancer cluster, including Whirlpool and local town dumps, but reached no conclusion on a cause.

Sandusky County health commissioner David Pollick, who sits on a local committee that monitors the Vickery wells, said last year he rejects the theory the wells could have caused the cancer cluster.

He said there is no evidence of a “disease pathway” linking the wells to the illnesses.

“We have 100 monitoring wells around there,” he said. “It’s never migrated off the property”

Comments

nosey rosey

No surprise here.

downthemiddle

Allowing toxic chemicals to be pumped deep into the earth around Vickery is the absolute STUPIDEST thing that humans can do.

With the proximity of the blue holes, Seneca Caverns, etc. no one can say for certain that there isn't an underground connection between them.

MrSandusky

Do you have any idea how deep this "well" is compared to the water table, blue hole or Seneca Cavern?

downthemiddle

nope... I just know that the Earth is a complex mechanism.

God made us a nice planet with renewable fresh water which flows from springs and Artesian wells in many places around the world. Once I learned about aquifers, I simply conjectured that there likely are interconnecting seams in the Earth. It can't be a coincidence that Seneca Caverns and Mammoth Cave, not to mention other caves in Ohio, are relatively close to each other.

The water that flows from springs around Castalia is devoid of oxygen, indicating that it has been subterrainean for a while.

Stop It

If you go to Seneca Caverns the tour guide will tell you that a bottle with a note was thrown in the underground river and had shown up a a while later at the blue hole in Castailia.

Stop It

Every once in awhile there is a strange fog in Vickery that isn't normal fog. What do they do? Tell people to close their windows and doors. NO BS.

rottnrog

The human race will not be happy until they have destroyed the air , water, and the ground!!!!!

Sailor Sam

We are sawing off the limb we are sitting on...every day and in every way!

Ithink

Four males from my graduating class alone were diagnosed with testicular cancer. They all lived in, or close to, Vickery. Hmmm.

JD's picture
JD

I always thought that the people who live in vickery were a little bit odd.

kURTje

Yet many hate "rules" regarding toxins/chemicals. Maybe they could live in this zone and bathe/consume the H two 0.

Sailor Sam

Theory or hypothesis???

grumpy

Quote from the article.

"The four wells at the site are heavily regulated, and there’s no evidence waste from them has left the area where it’s supposed to be, Pierce said. She said the EPA maintains a full-time employee on the site to monitor the four Vickery environmental wells that are licensed by the EPA."

Sounds like people don't like how the federal gov't regulates. I wonder how much these people know about what the regulations are for the wells?

Rosa

EPA gets paid off as everyone else. You can drive by and just smell the toxic fumes. It is horrible that greed and avarice over rank the health of human beings.

grumpy

Yes those folks who have been working there for decades have been dropping like flies. Hard to believe they can get people to work there when they just KNOW how toxic the air they breathe is. They must all have a death wish to work there. Those folks are the ones breathing it full strength. They must ship workers in from hundreds of miles away so their families aren't exposed. Too bad common sense just isn't anymore.