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How radioactive is oil and gas waste? New study

Amy Mall

Posted February 27, 2013

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A new paper published in "NEW SOLUTIONS: A Journal of Environmental and Occupational Health Policy," discusses an analysis of radioactive waste sludge in two pit sites related to drilling and fracking of Barnett Shale wells. Both sites are in the midst of agricultural land. One site was a former pit which had been drained and leveled to the surrounding elevation and the second is a pit that, at the time of sampling, held drilling mud, water for hydraulic fracturing, processed water and/or drill cuttings.

The analysis confirmed the presence of alpha, beta, and gamma radiation in the soil and water that was tested. The gamma-emitting radionuclides identified exceeded regulatory guideline values by more than 800 percent. According to the paper's authors, the active pit was overflowing into a neighboring stream.

The authors also report that agricultural land adjacent to the drained reserve pit may have an increased potential for radioactive material taken up in livestock feed crops growing on the land due to wind transport, runoff, and migration of soil onto adjacent land.

NRDC has long argued that oil and gas waste should be subject to federal hazardous waste rules under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. Evidence continues to grow about this waste being dangerous and getting into the human environment. This paper is just part of the mounting evidence that points to the dire need to close this loophole in a bedrock environmental protection.

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MartinFeb 28 2013 08:30 AM

I like to shere what I discover about
all chemical use

Kim FeilFeb 28 2013 10:09 AM

Bitumen bites lives...the kalamzoo spill flowed near a mobile home park that wasn’t evacuated soon enough...there has been a claim that in that one mobile home par, that 11 deaths ensued of which only one was a senior citizen. Sure getting off of fossil fuels would put us in a fix...but sooner or later people will die either from lack of food or poisoned food....we’ll die from lack of jobs due to lack of clean air too as folks will move to breathable areas-just to live....poisoned water from tar sands and fracking is a reality we will eventually have to face (Read the article Trillion Gallon Loophole). If we focus on getting wind an solar to be our main energy source, and all use less energy-which we are, that is the way to move to...feeding ourselves should be our jobs when jobs go away from the results of no water for manufacturing, bizare storms.... I read that if each household farms 10% of what they eat-we can feed the world. Surviving in a poisoned environment with crazy weather is what we have to look forward to...I want to live on an island and grow my own food...but that is not possible for all of us to do now is it? Real leadership will acknolwege great change is needed NOW to save mankind from its fossil fuel addiction and self destruction. Folks whose jobs depend on fossil fuels need to "get that" and actually care about their own family’s future in trying to have a livable planet.... not job-able, but live-able...what part of that isn’t clear? Jobs mean nothing if at the expense of (food/air/water) everything.

Larry MillerMar 3 2013 11:36 PM

The first two links in your blog post are not working.

Amy MallMar 4 2013 02:08 PM

Larry: Thanks for lettting me know. I have changed them and hopefully they work now.

Amy MallMar 5 2013 10:25 AM

Larry: I apologize, the links seem to time out. The name of the paper is: "Analysis of Reserve Pit Sludge from Unconventional Natural Gas Hydraulic Fracturing and Drilling Operations for the Presence of Technologically Enhanced Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material (TENORM)" and the authors are:
Alisa L. Rich and Ernest C. Crosby.
I hope you can search the journal website to find it.

Comments are closed for this post.


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