Oklahoma Shuts Some Disposal Wells After 5.6 Magnitude Earthquake

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin tweeted that the order affects 37 disposal wells. Every well within 5 miles of a 10-mile section of the fault involved in the earthquake is to be shut down within seven days, and other wells in the area must be shut down within 10 days.

Following a magnitude 5.6 earthquake centered near Pawnee, Okla., at 7:02 a.m. Sept. 3, state authorities ordered all disposal wells in the Arbuckle formation within an area of 725 square miles to be shut down.The Oklahoma Corporation Commission's Oil and Gas Division is implementing the mandatory directive to shut down those wells within the area, which is based on the location of the earthquake; the area includes 211 square miles of Osage County, which is outside the division's jurisdiction, so it is working with the Environmental Protection Agency, which has sole jurisdiction over disposal wells in Osage County. EPA will determine what action to take in that area.

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin tweeted that the order affects 37 disposal wells. Every well within 5 miles of a 10-mile section of the fault involved in the earthquake is to be shut down within seven days, and other wells in the area must be shut down within 10 days, she wrote.

This U.S. Geological Survey page has details of the earthquake. "Without studying the specifics of the wastewater injection and oil and gas production in this area, the USGS cannot currently conclude whether or not this particular earthquake was caused by industrial-related, human activities. However, we do know that many earthquakes in Oklahoma have been triggered by wastewater fluid injection. The USGS will continue to process seismic data in the following days and weeks that will help answer this question," the agency stated.

According to USGS, an earthquake of comparable size last occurred in Oklahoma in 2011, and a magnitude 5.1 earthquake also struck in Oklahoma on Feb. 13, 2016.

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