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Friday, March 6, 2015

...and speaking of clearing ice

"....the Pennsylvania department charged with regulating wastewater spread on roads appeared to not fully understand its potential effects until Newsweek got in touch.''
The wastewater spread on roads comes from oil and gas wells. To drill, production companies send large volumes of water down the well shaft. The water rises back to the surface as a brine laden with chloride (a salt) as well as a number of other constituents like radium and barium, which are radioactive. The brine used on roads comes from conventional oil and gas production, not hydraulic fracturing or “fracking.” But according to Duke University geochemist Avner Vengosh,* the conventional drilling waste is nearly identical in many of its most toxic components to the highly controversial fracking waste. Vengosh says the levels of radioactive material found in conventional brine samples taken from New York are equal to levels he has seen in fracking brine, for example. What’s more, a study Vengosh and his colleagues published last month in the journal Environmental Science & Technology found that brine being discharged, untreated, into Pennsylvania’s waterways—the same liquid that is spread on roads—also contained significant concentrations of ammonium, iodide and bromide. Each of these chemicals can be toxic to living creatures.

*(The article quotes him taking pains to say “We are not anti-fracking at all.” He's simply stating the facts on the, ahem, ground, and the science that flows from those facts. Inconvenient truths for those who deny certain realities.)