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Company's Plan For Disposing Of Fracking Wastewater Is Causing Community Concerns

PLUM (KDKA) -- The Environmental Protection Agency is planning a public hearing next week on plans to inject fracking wastewater into a gas well in Plum.

The company applying for a permit says it's a very safe process; however, some people disagree.

A company called Penneco Environmental Solutions is trying to get an EPA permit to inject fracking wastewater into the plugged gas well located off of Old Leechburg Road.

"This is the safest of the injections, the safest of processes for oil and gas wastewater. It's, in our opinion, and the EPA's opinion, much safer and much more reasonable," Penneco's Ben Wallace says.

But a nonprofit group that tracks oil and gas development isn't so sure.

"They have been linked with earthquakes in other locations. Allegheny County is historically not seismically active, but other locations that weren't earthquake-prone either have had trouble once they stared using this type of saltwater injection wells," says Matt Kelso, of FracTracker Alliance.

"This site, the risk of seismic activity is exceptionally low," says Wallace. "The potential for seismic activity occurs when you have an area that's prone to seismic activity or seismically active."

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But FracTracker Alliance thinks the community should have a chance to weigh in.

"At the very least, the community should have a conversation about it. The community should think about what the implications of such a well would be in this area," Kelso said.

If you live in Plum and you're concerned about the fracking wastewater, the EPA is holding a public hearing next Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Plum Borough Building.

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