VIENNA, OHIO - More than two dozen people protested Monday morning outside KDA Inc. property in Vienna, Ohio, against brine water being pumped into a former oil and gas well.
It was a display that could have been avoided, according to a company official.
Three of the protesters were taken from the site by Vienna police, but only Ron C. Shalom, 21, of Maryland was charged with criminal trespassing and obstruction of official business. Shalom was arrested after chaining himself to a gate to prevent tractor-trailers hauling brine water from entering the facility.
Ron C. Shalom, 21, of Maryland was arrested Monday on criminal trespassing charges after chaining himself to a gate at KDA Inc. in Vienna, Ohio.
The protesters with the groups Ohio Fracktion, Frack Free Mahoning and Defenders of the Earth Outreach Mission initially tried to block the entrance of the KDA property by standing next to the company's gate. Vienna Police Chief Andrew Pecchio told protest leaders they had to move off the property or face charges for trespassing.
The group moved across the road while singing protest songs and shouting at the company's ownership.
"We are concerned about chemicals that may be in the brine water being pumped into these wells," said the Rev. Monica Beasley-Martin of Defenders of the Earth Outreach Ministry.
Beasley-Martin contends there are farms growing vegetables nearby and people who still get their water from area wells.
The protesters also are concerned about a brine water spill in Fowler, Ohio, on July 7.
Mike Settles of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency estimated the amount of brine that was spilled in Fowler was between 100 and 150 gallons. However, he added, the Ohio EPA was not notified of the spill until three days after it occurred.
Mathew Kleese, whose family has owned the Vienna property since the 1940s, said KDA Inc. is placing the brine water into already existing wells.
Kleese said the property is part of his family's farm and he still lives near the facility.
"We are not doing anything to risk our family's property," he said.
Kleese said the wells were placed on the property in the early 1980s, and they were still extracting oil and gas from the wells in 2011. The company began pumping brine into the two wells on the property in March.
"We are receiving brine from Pennsylvania and Ohio," Kleese said. "Right now the majority of the brine - about 60 percent - is coming from Pennsylvania, but we are receiving an increasing amount from Ohio as more wells are being dug across the state."
The company plans to continue pumping brine water into the wells until they are filled to capacity and then will cap them, Kleese said.
Kleese said the heavily encased wells have been inspected by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and by Trumbull County officials.