Processing Magazine

Natural gas drilling companies sued over fracking wastewater

October 9, 2012

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A group of residents living above the Fayetteville Shale formation in central Arkansas have filed a lawsuit against three natural gas drilling companies for improper disposal of waste drilling fluids, Associated Press reported.

The lawsuit, which was filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Little Rock, names Houston-based Southwestern Energy Co., Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake Energy Corp. and Fort Worth-Texas-based XTO Energy Inc. as defendants.

The plaintiffs claim that the wastewater from hydraulic fracturing operations that is being injected at disposal sites is migrating beneath their property.

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"As a result of their activities, the (companies) are unjustly enriched by trespassing upon the lands of the plaintiffs and others, and were that not enough, the defendants are also receiving income for disposing of the oilfield waste on land owned by others," the lawsuit states.

Southwestern released a statement denying the allegations.

"Southwestern Energy''s underground injection wells are designed, constructed and operated to comply with all applicable laws and our own best practices to ensure the wastewater is safely injected into the approved disposal zone," the company said. "In addition, we have signed agreements that specifically give us permission to conduct the disposal activities described in the lawsuit," the company said.