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Thursday, January 15, 2015

New - and worrisome - contaminants emerge from oil and gas wells

 "We are releasing this wastewater into the environment and it is causing direct contamination and human health risks," said study co-author Avner Vengosh, professor of water quality and geochemistry at Duke's Nicholas School of the Environment. "It should be regulated and it should be stopped. That's not even science; it's common sense."

"Two hazardous chemicals never before known as oil and gas industry pollutants – ammonium and iodide – are being released into Pennsylvania and West Virginia waterways from the booming energy operations of the Marcellus shale, a new study shows. The toxic substances, which can have a devastating impact on fish, ecosystems, and potentially, human health, are extracted from geological formations along with natural gas and oil during both hydraulic fracturing and conventional drilling operations, said Duke University scientists in a study published today in the journal Environmental Science & Technology. The chemicals then are making their way into streams and rivers, both accidentally and through deliberate release from treatment plants that were never designed to handle these contaminants, the researchers said.
The findings have major implications for whether stronger regulations are needed to curb water pollution from fracking and other oil and gas industry operations. Over the years, the industry has faced questions about unsafe well design that allows methane to seep into drinking water, and about lubricants and other chemicals it adds to frack water. Duke researchers have conducted a number of studies on these problems.Now add to the list of concerns ammonium and iodide – two naturally occurring, dangerous chemicals that are essentially unregulated in oil and gas wastewater."

http://www.dailyclimate.org/tdc-newsroom/2015/01/fracking-fluid-waste