Oklahoma not making any money from taking in disposal water from out-of-state

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Update: A spokesman with the Oklahoma Corporation Commission said they misread reports, and the annual intake of barrels from out of state is actually 2.4 million.

Data pix.

OKLAHOMA - Officials say Oklahoma is not making any money from taking in millions of barrels of disposal water from neighboring states - the same disposal water that the state blames for an increase in earthquakes.

The state says there should be concern, but it's really not much compared to the disposal water Oklahoma already produces.

Documents handed over by the state show the numbers in barrels.

While it is high, we did the math and it's equal to the production of only a few wells from one company in one certain area.

"A very small part of the giant puzzle and the issue really becomes more the volumes that are going down each well in a given area," Matt Skinner, spokesperson with the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, says.

That's the focus the state wants to take when we asked about disposal water coming into our state from neighboring states.

"We have a total of about 76.5 million barrels that came into Oklahoma and disposed waste water from other states in 2015," Skinner said.

Rep. Richard Morrissette is trying to help implement a moratorium of disposal wells to the state.

"That is absolutely incredible that we allow the disposal of waste water from other states," Rep. Morrissette said.

It's the same disposal water the state says causes quakes.

"Yes, there is undoubtedly waste water being disposed of in earthquake areas in Oklahoma," Skinner says.

The state is divided into four districts.

Last year, district one took in about 1.5 million barrels, district two took in about 27 million, district three took in about 48 million barrels and district four had none.

The state says while there is concern, it's only a dent in the numbers when a few wells from a single company can dispose of more than 70 million barrels in just one year.

"Last week, we had a group of wells where we cut volume back by 192,000 barrels a day, far greater than the total amount that comes in to Oklahoma," Skinner said.

Skinner also added that the state does not get paid for the waste water that is imported into the state.

"Commercial disposal wells make the money by disposing water, so they're the ones who make the money," Skinner said.

Rep. Morrissette is actively working to change that.

"We can assess a fee to it and the legislature simply needs to pass a law, and that will take care of that problem," Rep. Morrissette said.

"At this point, any amount of waste water anywhere is of concern, the broader concern is how much is going down wells in Oklahoma," Skinner said. "As to where it's coming from - by far the vast majority is coming from Oklahoma."

The tax commission says there is no tax on the water coming in because it's not considered a good that Oklahomans can use.

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