Deep well injection of liquid wastes in saline formations



The AGU Hydrology Section and the International Association of Hydrologists sponsored a symposium on Deep Well Injection of Liquid Wastes in Saline Formations at the AGU Spring Meeting in Baltimore, Md., on May 17, 1988. The symposium was convened by Charles Kreitler (University of Texas, Austin), Chet Miller (Du Pont, Wilmington, Del.), and John Vecchioli (U.S. Geological Survey, Tallahassee, Fla.). John Atcheson, the director of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) task force on Hazardous Waste Restriction, opened the session with remarks on EPA's concerns over the practice of deep well injection of liquid wastes. These concerns have resulted in several programs nationwide that have been researching the interaction of the injected wastes with host saline formations. The papers at the symposium summarized many of these studies. Papers covered hydrogeologic characterization of the host formations, monitoring strategies, mathematical solutions and their benefits, potential for earthquakes and hydrofracturing, and geochemical reactions of the injected waste. The papers elicited numerous questions and comments on the pros and cons of the injection process. It was clear that there was no consensus to the acceptability of the injection process, and that additional research is needed to learn more about how wastes interact with geologic media.