(Republished blog from September 12, 2019)
The report focuses on 8 years – 2011 through 2018. Unconventional Marcellus shale gas drilling (using high volume, slick water, hydraulic fracturing) has actually been reeking havoc on one-third of Pennsylvania nearly twice that long –15 years– making the report all the more alarming.
Image: “THE DEVIL’S BACKBONE”
Marcellus shale wastewater pit holding fluids that have returned from the deep, radioactive shale. Childhood cancer clusters have emerged in SW Pennsylvania, fifteen years after fracking began. Ewing sarcoma is the most notable one.
Frackers don’t seem to be having much trouble disposing of most of their frac waste tonnage in local landfills, originally designed to handle mostly garbage, but the effluent that leaches through that “toxic teabag” is beginning to cause serious problems at riverside Public Owned Treatment Works (POTW’s), since their processes weren’t designed to handle this industrial waste.
Image: “THE PITS NEAR PITTSBURGH”
Massive volumes of water are destroyed by fracking, first with additives that can be carcinogenic and are often endocrine disruptors, then by the salts, heavy metals, and radioactive elements carried back up from the deep shale in flowback. Frackers are having a hard time getting rid of it all.
Public water authorities, drawing water out of those same rivers for public consumption, have also been faced with serious issues, since fracking began, from the creation of trihalomethanes (TTHM’s) after chlorinating their source water. Many public water systems have switched from chlorination to chloramination, to reduce TTHM’s within federal guidelines.
If these huge amounts of toxic waste (much is radioactive) have been created by drilling and fracking just over 10,000 wells, what does the future hold if the projected 50,000 to 100,000 gas wells are completed in Pennsylvania over the next 50 years? And for what purpose, to make plastic and increase corporate profits from exports?
Image: “THE GIFT THAT KEEPS ON GIVING”
Radium 226 is water-soluble and radioactive, with a half-life of 1,600 years.
This form of “extreme energy” is unsustainable, on so many levels. Not just environmentally, but also financially, since most of these oil and gas producers are spending more producing this energy than it’s actually worth. In some states, the natural gas is just burned-off, having negative value. The financials of many companies are like a “house of cards” with falling stock prices, layoffs and cutbacks in production.