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Posts Tagged ‘environmental health’

Significant Radioactivity, Salts, Metals Detected at Pennsylvania Fracking Site

Posted by feww on October 3, 2013

Fracking Wastewater Irradiated and Contaminated Pennsylvania River

Duke University researchers have detected elevated levels of radioactivity, heavy metals and salts  in the western Pennsylvanian Blacklick Creek that the Josephine Brine Treatment Facility uses to discharge treated wastewater from hydrolic fracking.

“Years of disposal of oil and gas wastewater with high radioactivity has created potential environmental risks for thousands of years to come.”  —Avner Vengosh, professor of geochemistry and water quality at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment.

A glass of water taken from  a residential well after the start of natural gas drilling in Dimock, Pennsylvania
A glass of water taken from a residential well after the start of natural gas drilling in Dimock, Pennsylvania, March 7, 2009. Dimock is one of hundreds of sites in Pennsylvania where energy companies are now racing to tap the massive Marcellus Shale natural gas formation. But some residents say the drilling has clouded their drinking water, sickened people and animals and made their wells flammable. REUTERS/Tim Shaffer. Image may be subject to copyright.

The following is mirrored from The Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University website.

Radioactive Shale Gas Contaminants Found at Wastewater Discharge Site

DURHAM, N.C. [October 02, 2013] — Elevated levels of radioactivity, salts and metals have been found in river water and sediments at a site where treated water from oil and gas operations is discharged into a western Pennsylvania creek.

“Radium levels were about 200 times greater in sediment samples collected where the Josephine Brine Treatment Facility discharges its treated wastewater into Blacklick Creek than in sediment samples collected just upstream of the plant,” said Avner Vengosh, professor of geochemistry and water quality at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment.

The new Duke study examined the quality of shale gas wastewater from hydraulic fracturing and the stream water above and below the disposal site. The study found that some of the discharged effluent is derived from the Marcellus shale gas flowback water, which is naturally high in salinity and radioactivity.

High concentrations of some salts and metals were also observed in the stream water. “The treatment removes a substantial portion of the radioactivity, but it does not remove many of the other salts, including bromide,” Vengosh said. “When the high-bromide effluents are discharged to the stream, it increases the concentrations of bromide above the original background levels. This is significant because bromide increases the risks for formation of highly toxic disinfection byproducts in drinking water treatment facilities that are located downstream.”

“The radioactivity levels we found in sediments near the outflow are above management regulations in the U.S. and would only be accepted at a licensed radioactive disposal facility,” said Robert B. Jackson, professor of environmental science at Duke. “The facility is quite effective in removing metals such as barium from the water but concentrates sulfates, chlorides and bromides. In fact this single facility contributes four-fifths of the total downstream chloride flow at this point.”

The Duke team also analyzed stream-bottom sediments for radium isotopes that are typically found in Marcellus wastewater. “Although the facility’s treatment process significantly reduced radium and barium levels in the wastewater, the amount of radioactivity that has accumulated in the river sediments still exceeds thresholds for safe disposal of radioactive materials,” Vengosh said. “Years of disposal of oil and gas wastewater with high radioactivity has created potential environmental risks for thousands of years to come.”

“While water contamination can be mitigated by treatment to a certain degree, our findings indicate that disposal of wastewater from both conventional and unconventional oil and gas operations has degraded the surface water and sediments,” said Nathaniel R. Warner, a recent Ph.D. graduate of Duke who is now a postdoctoral researcher at Dartmouth College. “This could be a long-term legacy of radioactivity.”

Industry has made efforts to reuse or to transport shale gas wastewater to deep injection wells, but wastewater is still discharged to the environment in some states. “It is clear that this practice of releasing wastewater without adequate treatment should be stopped in order to protect freshwater resources in areas of oil and gas development,” Vengosh said.

The Duke team published their findings Oct. 2 in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Science & Technology.

The Josephine Brine Treatment Facility is located in Indiana County, about an hour east of Pittsburgh. Blacklick Creek is a tributary of the Conemaugh River, which flows into the Allegheny River, a water source for numerous western Pennsylvania cities, including Pittsburgh.

Cidney A. Christie, who graduated from Duke’s Nicholas School in 2013 with a Master of Environment Management degree, coauthored the new study, which was funded by the Nicholas School and the Park Foundation.

“Impacts of Shale Gas Wastewater Disposal on Water Quality in Western Pennsylvania”
Nathaniel R. Warner, Cidney A. Christie, Robert B. Jackson, Avner Vengosh
Published Oct. 3 in Environmental Science & Technology – DOI: 10.1021/es402165b

shale_gas1-fire-earth download
Map Of Shale Gas Basins In The United States. Click image to enlarge.

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New York Cognitive Dissonance

Posted by feww on June 19, 2009

New York Counts GHG?

New York Cognitive Dissonance: Keeping Wall Street alive AND showing concern for global climate change!


A carbon counting sign on the side of the Deutsche Bank building in New York, June 18, 2009, displays the running total amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. REUTERS/Eric Thayer. IMAGE MAY BE SUBJECT TO COPYRIGHT.

Mauna Loa CO2 monthly mean data

May 2009, [Decimal date:  2009.375] – Monthly average:  390.18 ppm

Based on the above data, total atmospheric CO2 TODAY:

3,044,617,608,327.73 MT [3,044,617.61 MMT]

Combined impact of Nitrous Oxide (N2O), Methane (CH4) and CFC 12 ( CCl2F2) calculated at their full global warming potential: 30.59% of the CO2 Impact, or the CO2 equivalent of

931,380,216,898.77 MT CO2e [931,380,22 MMTCO2e]

Effective Total: 3,975,997,825,226.50 MTCO2e

[MT: Metric Tons;  MMT: Million Metric Tons; CO2e: Carbon Dioxide Equivalent ]

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