…more than 150,000 underground waste and injection wells nationwide
shoot industrial fluids thousands of feet below the surface.
….until recently, scientists and environmental officials have assumed that deep layers of rock beneath the earth would safely entomb the waste for millennia. Scientists and federal regulators acknowledge they do not know how many of the sites are leaking.
Read the entire article: Injection Wells: The Poison Beneath Us on ProPublica
Within the past three years, … fountains of oil and gas drilling waste have appeared in Oklahoma and Louisiana.
In South Florida, 20 of the nation’s most stringently regulated disposal wells failed in the 1990s, releasing partly treated sewage into aquifers that may one day be needed to supply Miami’s drinking water.
Federal officials and many geologists insist that the risks posed by all this dumping are minimal. Accidents are uncommon, they say, and groundwater reserves — from which most Americans get their drinking water — remain safe and far exceed any plausible threat posed by injecting toxic chemicals into the ground.
But in interviews, several key experts acknowledged that:
the idea that injection is safe rests on science that has not kept pace with reality, and on oversight that doesn’t always work.