Amidst Cushing quake, geologists say amount of saltwater injected underground is double the size of Lake Hefner

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OKLAHOMA - The Oklahoma Corporation Commission is working on a new plan in response to the most recent quake in Cushing.

Some geologists said more regulation has to happen now that we've injected more than 250 billion gallons of saltwater into the ground below us.

To give you an idea of just how much saltwater that is, think about the size of Lake Hefner - then double it.

That’s how much hydrogeologist Dr. Todd Halihan said is being injected underground every year.

“I think about it like an air hockey table. If you put it on a tilt and put that puck there, and the air is off, the puck just sits there. If you put the air on, it’s the same as adding that water pressure. It allows that puck to slide along or allows a piece of our state to slide along,” Halihan said.

Some folks in Cushing said the latest quake was like nothing they’ve felt before.

Many are concerned about the oil tank farms that hold millions of barrels of crude oil.

Officials said the structures above the ground are built to seismic standards and they’re inspected but there is a fault underneath.

“The question is whether all the pipelines in various locations around there, how are they going to do?” Halihan said.

Monday, as Cushing residents cleared debris and inspected their property, the Corporation Commission announced its working on a new plan.

“We’ve had a couple of years we could have done more planning and more sampling, but we’ve been afraid of what the implications were because of the uncertainties, and we need to get over that problem,” Halihan said.

The OCC said it’ll release full details of the new plan to shut down some Arbuckle disposal wells on Tuesday.