Terrebonne Parish Council
United States of America

What is liquid-exploration and production-waste?

During extraction oil companies pump saltwater, or brine, up to the surface with the oil where the two fluids are separated during production processes. Brine contains volatile organic compounds, such as toluene and benzene, a known human carcinogen. It contains toxic metals (arsenic, lead and barium) and radioactive materials. A variety of treatment chemicals, additives and oil residue may be present in produced water.

PROBLEMS with liquid-exploration and production-waste wells:

Surface contamination:

•Leaks and spills (even minor ones) from trucks, pumps, pipes, tanks and processing activities are likely and dangerous even in small amounts. The toxic liquids seep into the ground and can move beyond the well site into canals during rainstorms. -Wilma Subra, environmental chemist
•Vanguard’s site sits next to canals that drain into the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, which supplies drinking water to thousands in Houma.

Increased truck traffic near residential areas and schools:

•It will take approximately 60-200 trucks per day to bring the waste. (Vanguard’s permit would allow the disposal of up to 28,800 barrels per day, but the well would average about 7,200 barrels daily, said Williams, a department environmental-impact specialist. Vanguard’s website states that it has 22 trucks with 100 – 120 barrel capacities.)
•Vacuum trucks delivering and picking-up materials from the well site will create road hazards, emit dangerous fumes and will be using loud pumps at the site.
•Drilling, completion, and workover trucks, rigs, and equipment such as pumps, run off of diesel-powered or gasoline engines. The exhaust fumes from gasoline and diesel fuels produce emissions that are noticeable to people living downwind.
•Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are found in exhaust from motor vehicles and other gasoline and diesel engines. A long list of other air pollutants, including BTEX, formaldehyde and metals are also contained in diesel fuel combustion products.

Air pollution:

•The Vanguard oilfield-waste injection well planned in north Houma is expected to release 3.4 tons per year of volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, into the air.
•VOCs include toluene, hexane and benzene, which are known to cause cancer in humans.

Sub-surface contamination:

“Injection wells can fail for a variety of reasons. A leak at the entrance to the well or in its casing would pose a direct threat to groundwater. Unknown fractures in local geology pose a more indirect, less easily detected threat….If the fracture extends into a fresh water aquifer or a porous subsurface layer that lies below an aquifer, contamination could occur unchecked for indefinite amount of time. *“Biosphere 2000: protecting our global environment” by Donald G. Kaufman, Cecilia M. Franz

We, the undersigned, call on the Terrebonne Parish Council to NOT change their law on the disposal of oil-field wastes to reduce the buffer for injection wells from one mile to the state's rule of 500 feet.

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The Stop change of law regarding disposal of oil-field wastes in Terrebonne petition to Terrebonne Parish Council was written by Andrea and is in the category Environment at GoPetition.