PLUM (KDKA) — People angry over a proposal to inject fracking wastewater underground in Plum Borough sounded off Wednesday.

They fear it could lead to earthquakes or water contamination.

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But the company asking for a permit tells a different story.

People packed a public hearing held by the EPA expressing concerns.

One woman told asked, “How toxic has this water become that industry can’t use it anymore? And this is what you want to inject?”

Another woman addressed the panel: “You guys are the Environmental Protection Agency. Start doing your job and protect the environment.”

The crowd erupted in applause.

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It’s a plugged gas well off Leechburg Road that Penneco Environmental Solutions wants to inject fracking wastewater into.

The process has been done more often in Ohio and Oklahoma.

But it’s also been linked in some locations to earthquakes, including in the Youngstown area.

But a spokesperson for Penneco, the company seeking the permit, believes the risk of seismic activity is extremely low.

“This is the safest of injections, the safest of processes for oil and gas. In our opinion, and in the EPA’s opinion typically, much safer and more reasonable,” said Ben Wallace of Penneco.

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No timetable for when EPA will make a decision about the permit.

David Highfield