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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Duke U. Study raises concerns over wastewater from drilling

“Our data clearly show that the current brine treatment practice in Pennsylvania is not sufficient to remove these contaminants,” said Mr. Vengosh, one of six researchers from Duke and Stanford universities and Dartmouth College who worked on the study.

A Duke University-led study has found high concentrations of two potentially hazardous contaminants in oil- and gas-well drilling wastewater discharged into waterways in Pennsylvania and elsewhere. The peer-reviewed report, which appeared last week in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, is the first to identify ammonium and iodide in the wastewater discharges from drill sites and treatment plants, including three commercial treatment facilities in the Allegheny River watershed. The findings raise new concerns about the environmental and health impacts of wastewater discharges from shale and non-shale oil and gas drilling operations in a variety of geological formations in the Appalachian Basin, according to Avner Vengosh, a professor of geochemistry and water quality at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment.