Way to avoid possible earthquake could cost $10 million

Scientists say natural gas drillers can easily avoid minor earthquakes linked to wastewater disposal wells by a seismologist earlier this week, but it’ll cost companies about $10 million a pop.

A seismic survey of the area could help natural gas drillers determine whether there is a risk for earthquakes near disposal well sites, but a thorough test could cost $10 million a piece, according to Reuters

Companies have been testing sites by drilling a bore hole, but the inexpensive test doesn’t give companies any indication about possible faults below.

“If we knew what was in the earth we could perfectly mitigate the risk of earthquakes,” Austin Holland, seismologist at the Oklahoma Geological Survey, told Reuters. “That is something that we don’t have enough science to establish yet.”

However, natural gas drillers might be unlikely to pay for the expensive test without irrefutable evidence linking earthquakes to disposal wells.

John Armbruster, a seismologist, said earlier this week that a wastewater disposal well was almost certainly caused 11 earthquakes in the Youngtown, Ohio area. The study did not find a conclusive link between the controversial hydraulic fracturing and quakes.