GWPC Annual Forum Session Preview

Water & Energy - Induced Seismicity by Underground Injection

Monday, Sept. 28, 2015  |  11 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Speaker: Dr. Kyle E. Murray, Hydrogeologist, Oklahoma Geological Survey & Adjunct Faculty, ConocoPhillips School of Geology and Geophysics at the University of Oklahoma

Dr. Murray will examine the results of a study of the Arbuckle Group in northern Oklahoma, which was conducted to improve our understanding of pressure changes in the Arbuckle as a result of fluid production or injection.

The Arbuckle Group, a predominantly carbonate deposit, is the main zone for disposal of wastewater that was co-produced from petroleum wells in Oklahoma. Bottom-hole pressure data from over 1100 drill-stem tests collected over several decades indicates that the Arbuckle was under pressured when wells were completed. Sixty percent of the Arbuckle saltwater disposal wells operating in Oklahoma from 2010-2013 were reportedly functioning with negative wellhead pressure, which suggests the majority of the Arbuckle is still under pressured. 

More Information

For more on this session, to download a full agenda and abstracts, or to view hotel and registration information, visit

Federal News

Success Story: Colorado River, Texas

Excess chloride loading from oil and gas wells, invasive brush species and natural salt deposits led to high chloride concentrations in the Colorado River below E.V. Spence Reservoir in Texas. This prompted the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to place four assessment units of the Colorado River on the state’s 2002 Clean Water Act section 303(d) list of impaired waters for failure to meet chloride standards.

The TCEQ, Railroad Commission of Texas and the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board (TSSWCB) implemented several saltwater minimization projects that reduced chloride concentrations in the impaired segment including plugging abandoned, unplugged, noncompliant oil and gas wells; fixing improperly plugged wells; and conducting targeted brush control. 

Following restoration, TCEQ determined that segment met the Texas’ standard for chloride, and removed it from the list of impaired waters in 2012. Read More

EPA Hosts “Paying for Stormwater” Webcast on August 13

EPA’s Green Infrastructure program will host a webcast on Aug. 13 from 1-2:30 p.m. Eastern titled “Paying for Stormwater - The Benefits of a Utility.”

In this webcast, two municipalities will share their efforts in creating a stormwater utility, followed by a presentation on the key considerations when establishing a stormwater authority. A stormwater utility can be an effective and dedicated source of funding to pay for stormwater management programs and related infrastructure investments.

For more information and to register, click here

State News


Commission Guards Against Water Pollution, Earthquakes From Oil Drilling


The Nebraska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission has only eight employees, but this little state agency has some big responsibilities -- like keeping waste water from oil wells from polluting drinking water, and evaluating whether that waste water could cause earthquakes. 

“Oil serves you every minute of every day” reads a sign on the door of a pickup owned by the Nebraska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. And that service comes with some byproducts, according to Stan Belieu, the commission’s deputy director. “For every barrel of oil you produce you produce about 100 barrels of water. And our regulations require that this water be injected underground. And so the wells that we’re going to go inspect are those wells that will be injecting that salt water that comes from the production of this oil,” Belieu said. Full Story

Natural Impurities Exceed Human-Made Ones in State Groundwater, Study Finds

(LA Times)

A decade-long federal survey has concluded that natural contaminants are more prevalent than human-made contaminants in California groundwater aquifers used for public consumption.

The U.S. Geological Survey analysis of 11,000 public wells in 87 study areas determined that natural contaminants such as arsenic and uranium occur at high concentrations in about 20% of the groundwater used for public supply.

Human-made contaminants such as nitrate and organic solvents occur at high concentrations in about 5% of the resources.

Although human-made contaminants do not show up as often, they are found in groundwater aquifers supplying drinking water to millions of residents in Southern California, said Kenneth Belitz, who led the $50-million study recently published in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Science & Technology.

“This is the most comprehensive study of groundwater contamination conducted by any state in the nation,” Belitz said in an interview Thursday. “It tells us which contaminants are most important and where they are.” Full Story

Oklahoma Cuts Waste Injections; Quake Link Is Real, Commissioner Says

(Natural Gas Intelligence)

Oklahoma regulators are cutting back the volume of drilling wastewater that operators may inject into disposal wells in two counties as a continued "progressive" response to induced seismicity that has been blamed on such wells.

The Oklahoma Corporation Commission’s (OCC) Oil and Gas Conservation Division (OGCD) plan affects northern Oklahoma and southern Logan counties. Operators will have a 60-day period during which injection volume will be reduced 38%, or about 3.4 million barrels under the 2014 total. Such a reduction will bring total volume for the area to a level under the 2012 total by about 2.4 million barrels. The area saw its sharpest rise in seismicity start in late 2012. Full Story

State Receives Groundwater Assessment Reports for Three Duke Energy Facilities in North Carolina

(WITN News)

State environmental officials received groundwater assessment reports Wednesday from Duke Energy for three facilities with coal ash ponds in eastern North Carolina.

State officials say the groundwater assessment reports for H.F. Lee Power Station in Goldsboro, Sutton Power Station in Wilmington and Weatherspoon Steam Electric Plant in Lumberton are an important step toward cleaning up coal ash as the reports will be used by the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources to prioritize the closure of the coal ash impoundments.

DENR has started reviewing the reports to determine the extent of groundwater contamination under the three facilities. Full Story

2015 Gulf 'Dead Zone' Larger than Connecticut, Rhode Island Combined

(The Times-Picayune)

The 2015 "dead zone," an area of dangerously low-oxygen water in the Gulf of Mexico along Louisiana's coast, is bigger than the states of Connecticut and Rhode Island combined, and ranks as the 11th largest since mapping began in 1985.

The news came Tuesday (Aug. 4) as researchers with the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium and Louisiana State University released results of this year's measurement.

They concluded this year's dead zone extended over more than 6,400 square miles, more than three times the goal of voluntary federal and state efforts to cut down nutrients that feed the dead zone. That's also about the same size as the combined islands that make up the state of Hawaii. Full Story

GWPC Staff Profile

Ben Grunewald

Chief of Operations

Ben serves as the chief project development and financial management officer. He coordinates the development of agendas for all GWPC events ensuring timely and efficient information for members. He is responsible for coordinating conference planning committees, the development of conference agendas, coordinating with outside groups, and overseeing events and outreach.

Upcoming Events

GWPC Annual Forum
Oklahoma City, OK
September 27th-30th, 2015

Hotel information:
Courtyard by Marriott-Bricktown
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GWPC UIC Conference
Denver, CO
February 23-25, 2016

More information coming soon.
Check for more information and updates.
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