“Our worst nightmare will probably happen,” Residents against planned wells speak out after judge recommends approval by OCC

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CANADIAN COUNTY, Okla. – It’s a place some consider their sanctuary.

“We always wanted to live in the country,” said Brenda Gatto. “The peace, the quiet - we wanted to have animals.”

But, now, Gatto said her quiet life near N.W. 10th and Cimarron Road is a dream she could soon wake up from.

“The peace and quiet we know now is going to be destroyed,” she said.

That’s because, just across the street, two saltwater disposal wells are planned, and residents said construction has already started.

The potential wells were protested by locals, and the matter went before a judge with the Oklahoma Corporation Commission.

After hearing from both sides, the residents and the owner of the land, the judge recommended the approval of the wells by the OCC as long as the wells meet certain regulations.

Residents against the wells said they are worried about potential earthquakes and other disruptions.

“You know, dust, and dirt and all the trappings of a major industrial operation,” said resident Ryan Bloom.

Gatto feels matters could be worse.

“Most of the homes have well water,” she said. “Two of the homes that border that property, they have young children that will be playing in the creek.”

The judge recommends the wells be allowed to operate on a trial basis for a year.

He also recommends they be closely monitored to protect the water.

That information doesn’t offer much relief for residents.

Gatto said she has little hope left and the wells are only a matter of time.

“I think it’s probably going to happen. Our worst nightmare will probably happen,” she said.

NewsChannel 4 also reached out to the owner of the property where the wells are planned, but he had no comment.

OCC officials said researchers haven’t linked the particular types of wells to earthquakes.

For now, there is no timeline on when or if the wells will be approved by the Corporation Commission.

However, both parties can appeal the judge’s recommendation.

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