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Wastewater Disposal Wells, Fracking, and Environmental Injustice in Southern Texas

Wastewater truck passing by the house of a poor family

A wastewater truck passing by the house of a poor family in the Southwest of the US.

This investigation looked at race and poverty in areas where oil and gas wastewater disposal wells are permitted.

Key findings

  • The proportion of people of color living less than 5 kilometers from a disposal well was 1.3 times higher than was the proportion of non-Hispanic Whites.
  • Adjusting for rurality, disposal wells were 2.04 times (95% confidence interval = 2.02, 2.06) as common in areas with 80% people of color or more than in majority White areas.
  • Wastewater disposal wells in southern Texas are disproportionately permitted in areas with higher proportions of people of color and residents living in poverty, a pattern known as “environmental injustice.”

Bibliography:
Jill E. Johnston, Emily Werder, and Daniel Sebastian.
Wastewater Disposal Wells, Fracking, and Environmental Injustice in Southern Texas
American Journal of Public Health 2016 Jan 21:e1-e7. [Epub ahead of print]
American Journal of Public Health March 2016, Vol. 106, No. 3, pp. 550-556.
doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2015.303000
Fulltext link

See also this later article on the issue:

Larry Buhl, The Color of Pollution: How Environmental Contamination Targets People of Color. DesmogBlog, July 28, 2016

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