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Residents are trying to block disposal well in Oklahoma

Landowners in Garvin County are trying to block a Tulsa company's bid to operate a disposal well for up to 50,000 barrels of oil-field wastewater in their area.
BY JAY F. MARKS Published: August 24, 2012

It took a while for Garvin County residents to learn about a Tulsa company's plan to drill a wastewater disposal well in their area, but they are wasting no time in trying to block the project.

CAVU Energy Services Inc. received a permit for the saltwater disposal well in October 2010, but the company did not complete the project before the permit expired 18 months later.

Wynnewood resident Joe Menefee, whose family has owned land near the proposed disposal well since 1903, said he is worried the well — which would inject as much as 50,000 barrels of wastewater a day into the ground — would contaminate the area's water supply.

Menefee said that part of Garvin County has not recovered from decades of oil and natural gas activity.

“It is not suitable here because of the unplugged, uncharted, unknown locations out there,” Menefee said. “This area has been raped and plundered for many years.”

He said the disposal well is not needed, noting his study of Oklahoma Corporation Commission records shows nine disposal wells in the county were used at only 13 percent of their capacity in 2010, the most recent data available.

Menefee was one of several Garvin County residents who testified before an administrative law judge in a daylong hearing Thursday about their opposition to the CAVU project. More than 1,300 signed a petition against the project earlier this year.

Petroleum engineer Bruce Langhus helped prepare CAVU's application for the disposal well, which would inject wastewater about 4,000 feet underground in the Arbuckle formation.

“It has the ability to take a lot of water over the life of the project,” he said.

Langhus said there is about 3,800 feet between the injection zone and what regulators consider treatable water, which is fit for consumption by livestock.

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