A group of 14 families from Central Arkansas has filed a lawsuit against Chesapeake Operating Inc. and BHP Billiton Petroleum LLC over a series of earthquakes in 2010-2011 allegedly caused by oil drilling disposal well sites near the city of Conway. After the earthquakes, the state of Arkansas banned four oil disposal wells located within 1,150 square miles of the earthquakes.
The oil disposal wells are designed to dispose of the fluids used in the drilling process by pushing the liquid into the sediment. The lawsuit alleges that this process set off a series of earthquakes, more than 1,000 of them, measuring magnitudes of 1.0 to 4.7.
These earthquakes resulted in no reported injuries or major structural damage, although some residents reported cracked walls. The attorney representing the plaintiffs said that there are four other federal cases related to the earthquakes still pending.