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Kansas Geological Survey's New Research Links Wastewater Disposal to Distant Earthquakes


New research by the Kansas Geological Survey is raising new questions about the connection between earthquakes and wastewater injection wells used in the oil and gas industry.  KPR's J. Schafer has more.

Read more about this research.

Wastewater is a byproduct of drilling for oil and gas and typically, all the wastewater that comes out of a well is pumped back into the ground through an injection well.  An increase in earthquakes in Kansas and Oklahoma has already been attributed to the disposal of wastewater in nearby injection wells. But now, researchers at the Kansas Geological Survey say wastewater disposal can cause earthquakes not just in the vicinity of the injection wells, but up to 55 miles away.  That suggestion might seem unprecedented.  But so is the amount of fluid injected along both sides of the Kansas-Oklahoma state line.  The new research also suggests that it may take months - even years - for wastewater injected into the ground to trigger any seismic activity.  I'm J. Schafer. ####


J. Schafer is the News Director of Kansas Public Radio. He’s also the Managing Editor of the Kansas Public Radio Network, which provides news and information to other public radio stations in Kansas and Missouri.