Home > Environment, Our Earth, Trends > New Series on Toxic Fracking Waste In America’s Rivers

New Series on Toxic Fracking Waste In America’s Rivers

February 27, 2011

Today in the NY Times is a new series of articles on the dangerous practice of fracking or hydrofracking. Here are some excerpts. Also, below is the trailer for the award winning documentary, Gasland. I want you to think now about how the Koch Brothers and their Mercatus Center are diligently conspiring to destroy the EPA and regulation.

Download Excel sheet of contaminants from 200 wells:
natural-gas-drilling-spreadsheet

NY Times Series: Regulation Lax as Gas Well’s Tainted Water Hits Rivers

EXCERPT:

But the relatively new drilling method — known as high-volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing, or hydrofracking — carries significant environmental risks. It involves injecting huge amounts of water, mixed with sand and chemicals, at high pressures to break up rock formations and release the gas.

With hydrofracking, a well can produce over a million gallons of wastewater that is often laced with highly corrosive salts, carcinogens like benzene and radioactive elements like radium, all of which can occur naturally thousands of feet underground. Other carcinogenic materials can be added to the wastewater by the chemicals used in the hydrofracking itself.

While the existence of the toxic wastes has been reported, thousands of internal documents obtained by The New York Times from the Environmental Protection Agency, state regulators and drillers show that the dangers to the environment and health are greater than previously understood.

Other documents and interviews show that many E.P.A. scientists are alarmed, warning that the drilling waste is a threat to drinking water in Pennsylvania. Their concern is based partly on a 2009 study, never made public, written by an E.P.A. consultant who concluded that some sewage treatment plants were incapable of removing certain drilling waste contaminants and were probably violating the law.

The Times also found never-reported studies by the E.P.A. and a confidential study by the drilling industry that all concluded that radioactivity in drilling waste cannot be fully diluted in rivers and other waterways.

Yet sewage treatment plant operators say they are far less capable of removing radioactive contaminants than most other toxic substances. Indeed, most of these facilities cannot remove enough of the radioactive material to meet federal drinking-water standards before discharging the wastewater into rivers, sometimes just miles upstream from drinking-water intake plants.

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