The main details dealing with disposal of fracking fluid are dealt with here. This page is dedicated to the wider scope of underground injection.
First what is Deep Well Injection? This document describes in simple terms the basics of a deep injection system.
Deep well injection is a liquid waste disposal technology. This alternative uses injection wells to place treated or untreated liquid waste into geologic formations that have no potential to allow migration of contaminants into potential potable water aquifers. As you will see in the next section the intention is not always what happens.
Here is another pretty ‘handout’ style presentation pumped full of environmentally friendly BS.
This document Deep Well Injection (PDF) which hosted on the EPA site reads in my humble opinion like a horror story. To be honest I got to the first set of diagrams and just sat shaking my head. How can the American authorities be so stupid was the only response I could come up with at first.
Allow me to quote some samples here, but I really do recommend that you download and read the PDF and read it in full.
The second paragraph states:
Deep wells are used in South Florida to dispose of secondary-treated municipal wastewater. These wells are permitted as Class I municipal wells, which by definition dispose of wastewater beneath the lowermost formations containing, within a minimum of one-quarter mile of the well bore, an underground source of drinking water (USDW) (FDEP, 1999a). Deep municipal wells in South Florida inject at depths ranging from approximately 1,000 feet to greater than 2,500 feet below surface of the land.
USDW? Underground Source of Drinking Water. Read that paragraph again and reflect on what that says!
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) estimates that deep-well injection accounts for approximately 20% (0.44 billion gallons per day) of the total wastewater management capacity in the State of Florida (FDEP, June 1997). That gives you some idea of the size of the potential problem.
Wastewater is injected below the base of the USDW into moderately saline groundwater that has total dissolved solids (TDS) concentrations of 20,000 milligrams per liter (mg/L) (Hickey, 1982; Hutchinson, 1991). The base of the USDW is located approximately 570 feet above the injection zone, which is still within
the Upper Floridan Aquifer (Duerr, 1995).
Now is it me or does that say that the injection zone is still within the Upper Floridan Aquifer? Scroll back to page 5 and take another look at the left hand diagram. There is a ‘confining unit’ between the surface aquifer and the lower one, but injecting waste into ANY aquifer should be classified as a crime. Somewhere, sometime this water will emerge and it will be contaminated.
The Florida DEP has concluded that approximately three deep-well injection sites in Pinellas, Dade, and Palm Beach counties have caused confirmed fluid movement into USDWs (Figure 4-4). An additional six deep-well injection facilities in Pinellas and Brevard counties have caused probable fluid movement into USDWs. As many as nine additional facilities have caused fluid movement into non-USDWs, predominantly in Broward County (Figure 4-4).
Approximately 18 deep-well injection facilities appear to be associated with some form of unintended fluid movement from the injection zone. Deep-well injection facilities in many other parts of South Florida do not appear to have caused unintended fluid movement. Multiple facilities in each of several counties (Charlotte, Collier, Lee, Sarasota, and St. Lucie counties) have operated for years with no apparent fluid
So “Oh we have got some contamination but lots of wells operate perfectly OK and have not caused contamination.”
FAIL. ANY waste water contamination of aquifers that will eventually supply drinking water for humans, or indeed animals or for irrigation of crops is a FAIL.
As you continue reading you will discover that is some areas there is faecal (or fecal is Amercan) contamination from treated sewage pumped into these aquifers. It may have escaped the attention of some of these scientists that pumping sh1t into aquifers is NOT the same thing as for example the natural breakdown of this matter in properly constructed septic tanks or bio systems.
The Underground Injection Control Program, or licence to pump sh1t into the aquifers.
UIC wells are manmade structures used to discharge fluids into the subsurface. Examples are drywells, infiltration trenches with perforated pipe, and any structure deeper than the widest surface dimension. The majority of UIC wells in Washington are used to manage storm water (i.e., drywells) and sanitary waste (large on-site systems), return water to the ground, and help clean up contaminated sites. The potential for groundwater contamination from injection wells depends upon well construction and location; quality of the fluids injected; and the geographic and hydrologic settings in which the injection occurs.