Is Injecting Cherry Juice Waste into Deep Disposal Well OK?

EPA Region 5 proposes to issue an operating permit to O.I.L. Energy Corp. of Traverse City, Mich., to allow it to inject cherry juice processing waste into a deep disposal well. The agency seeks public comments on this proposed decision.

The company has an existing well in Traverse County that is currently used to dispose of brine (salt water) brought to the surface during oil pumping. In order to use it to dispose of nonhazardous industrial waste the company had to seek permission from EPA to change the designation of the well from a Class II underground injection well to a Class I well. After reviewing the request, EPA has tentatively decided that the additional use of the well will not cause significant environmental harm because the waste will remain separated from drinking water sources. Each year the well is tested for mechanical integrity and the company is required to submit monthly monitoring reports.

The public can comment on the proposed permit until March 12. If significant written comments are received during the comment period, a public hearing may be scheduled. Members of the public may ask for an informational meeting or public hearing by submitting a request in writing. Comments or requests for a meeting or hearing should be sent to: Leslie Patterson, EPA Region 5 (WU-16J), 77 W. Jackson Blvd., Chicago, Ill. 60604-3590. They may be e-mailed to patterson.leslie@epa.gov or submitted online at www.epa.gov/region5/water/uic/uicpub.htm#pubprem. Refer to Draft Permit MI-055-1I-C002. The draft permit and a fact sheet are available at the same Web site.

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