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Saturday, June 6, 2015

why we don't want this @$#! here in the Highlands...

DEP to investigate Ten Mile Creek for radioactivity

The 2014 DEP tests that sparked this investigation were performed only after members of the local Izaak Walton League of America repeatedly asked the department to test for radioactivity and other chemicals in the creek.* 

"The results of the Ten Mile Creek tests have caught the attention of scientists who are national leaders in the study of drilling and coal mining effects on water. “If the radium data is correct, this is the first time I have seen elevated radioactivity associated with coal mine effluents,” said Avner Vengosh, a geochemist at Duke University.  “Yes, those numbers look high,” said Paul Ziemkiewicz, director of West Virginia University’s Water Research Institute. “We do know that there are substantial radioactive concentrations in flowback or produced water from (natural gas) drilling. I have not known anyone who has identified that in coal mine drainage.” Vengosh said the radionuclide levels in the DEP’s small sampling are not typical.  “So that becomes the big question,” he said. “Why do you see that? Is it something we haven’t seen before from acid mine drainage? Or does it have something to do with fracking effluents that are being introduced into it?”

In 2013, Vengosh and other scientists discovered radium in Blacklick Creek, in Indiana County. They found radium levels were 200 times greater at a discharge point of a facility that treated Marcellus gas wastewater than in sediments upstream from the site. In the study, the scientists were able to determine markers that indicated the chemicals came from fracking operations. Vengosh said that’s what his team will look for with these streams and mine outfalls. Poister said the DEP will also look for chemical markers that would indicate frack wastewater in their investigation on Ten Mile Creek.

Radium-226 has a half-life of 1,600 years. It can cause the bioaccumulation of radium in sediment and end up in fish and the environment, Vengosh said. Vengosh said drinking water in communities will need to be evaluated for potential health risks once more data is gathered. As for Dufalla, “I am not going to stop until I find out who put it in there, why it’s in there and until it’s cleaned up,” he said.''

*Takes devoted activists to uncover the dirty secrets of our elected and appointed officials...people who are working for everyone's safety, not for the profits of a relative few people. Wake up, smell the frack water, and get busy helping to stop this from ruining Ligonier.