Lochghelly Injection Well

On West Virginia Morning, on this Earth Day, Jessica Lilly reports from a public hearing in Fayette County about permits to put natural gas drilling waste there.  Also, a look back at Earth Day which began in 1970 and the relationship between corporate America and the environmental movement.  These stories on West Virginia Morning from West Virginia Public Broadcasting – telling West Virginia’s story.

Chris Jackson/The Register-Herald / The Register Herald

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection hosted a public hearing about two proposed waste permits in Fayette County Tuesday night. All but one of about 30 people who who spoke at the hearing opposed the permit.

Danny Webb, the owner of the waste site, stayed for the first part of the hearing, but did not speak publicly.

On West Virginia Morning, host Beth Vorhees talks with Southern West Virginia news bureau chief Jessica Lilly for a preview of the issues at stake at a public hearing in Fayette County.  The hearing is about permits for underground injection wells to take natural gas drilling waste.  That’s on West Virginia Morning from West Virginia Public Broadcasting – telling West Virginia’s story.

Jessica Lilly

A state board says two underground injection wells in Fayette County can't operate without a permit.

The West Virginia Environmental Quality Board says the Department of Environmental Protection violated state law when it allowed Danny Webb Construction to operate the injection wells in Lochgelly without a permit.

Jessica Lilly / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

 Update Wednesday January 7, 2015 11:46 a.m.

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection is postponing the meeting due to weather/road conditions. In an email, Kelley Gillenwater with the DEP said,

"Due to the inclement weather conditions in the Oak Hill area, tonight’s public hearing on the Danny Webb UIC permit applications will be reschedule. The date, time and location have not yet been determined but an announcement with those details will be made within the next couple of days."

Jessica Lilly / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The West Virginia Environmental Quality Board is reviewing an order issued by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection that revokes a waste disposal permit. Attorney Tom Rist is representing groups concerned about Danny Webb Construction's waste disposal operation in Fayette County.


On Thursday the DEP Environmental Quality Board is expected to hear arguments from Tom Rist and the Rist Law Office is representing the Natural Resource Defense Council, WV Surface Owners’ Rights Organization, Plateau Action Network, and citizen Brad Keenan.

The groups are concerned about the permitting process of an underground injection well as well as the oil and gas waste disposal site in Fayette County.

Jessica Lilly / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Danny Webb Construction began shutting down above ground pits last month in Fayette County that held oil and gas waste. The waste likely came from horizontal drilling operations.

In a more recent development, the DEP says a tank that was holding some of that waste, leaked during the process, but was cleaned up.

Concerned citizens have been expressing concerns with this particular operation for years.

Environmental groups ran some tests last year and while results have turned up inconclusive, it still raised red flags.


An update on a Fayette County waste pit, as DEP data suggests that before the pit was shut down, it had been leaking.  There’s been much deliberation over the last week regarding new Environmental Protection Agency proposals for regulating coal fired power plant carbon emissions, but, there are also proposals on the table for how to regulate future power plants, and some are asking whether any new ones will be built again in West Virginia. Also, Grow Ohio Valley hopes to widen the local food economy in the Northern Panhandle.  

Department of Environmental Protection, DEP
Department of Environmental Protection

  Updated June 6, 2014

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection says the leak occurred in a tank carrying oil and gas waste from the above ground pits and not a pipe.

The DEP says about 20 to 30 gallons spewed for two to three hours through a pinhole in a joint weld.

The DEP says the "failure in the line" was above ground.

Jessica Lilly / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection says materials from a pit holding waste of the oil and gas industry, including fracking waste, is being taken to the Raleigh County landfill. The DEP says work is underway to reclaim above ground waste pits months after the state agency ordered it shut down.

The pits were used to remove sediments from the oil and gas waste before injecting underground.

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection has ordered a permit for an underground injection well in Fayette County to be revoked.

The DEP renewed the permit for a class two (UIC), or underground injection control disposal well owned by Danny Webb Construction on February 6.

The permit allows the company to accept fluids from oil and gas exploration, development drilling, and production fluids for another five years. 

Jessica Lilly / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A law office in Fayette County says the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection violated state and federal law.

The Rist Law Office in Fayetteville wants the DEP to reverse a permit for an underground injection well the DEP granted for Danny E. Webb Construction Incorporated. Residents have been concerned about this site in Lochghelly for years.  

According to court documents, the Rist Law Office is representing the Natural Resource Defense Council, the West Virginia Surface Owners' Rights Organization, the Plateau Action Network and citizen Brad Keenan.

Jessica Lilly

The Natural Resource Defense Council is disappointed with the state Department of Environmental Protection’s decision to renew a permit for an underground injection well in Fayette County.

The permit allows Danny Webb Construction to accept fluids from oil and gas exploration, development drilling, and production fluids for another five years.

Jessica Lilly / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection has renewed a permit for an underground injection well in Fayette County that accepts fracking water and other waste.

A public hearing in 2013 brought concerned residents and former workers of Danny Webb Construction, the owner of the site. Residents have been concerned about the site for years.