Radioactive Dumps in Pennsylvania From Fracking

Pennsylvania has become a dump for radioactive waste in landfills never designed to hold any toxic waste.

Fossil Fuel Polluters and Friends Ramp Up New Attack on Solar Energy in Pa.
In 2019, Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency issued its recommendation to exempt oil and gas waste from regulation under the Subtitle C of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)—despite explicitly saying that exemption “does not mean that these wastes cannot cause harm to human health.” Data from the PA DEP indicates that in 2018 alone over 230,000 tons of waste from oil and gas operations was disposed of in Pennsylvania landfills. This included drill cutting, contaminated soil, spent lubricants, and drilling fluid waste along with other chemicals and radioactive materials.

ROB ALTENBURG – PENNFUTURE – SEP 29, 2020

(Updated blog from November 23, 2019)

Justin Nobel gave us a preview of his upcoming story in Rolling Stone at the Shale and Public Health Conference in Pittsburgh.

It was so appropriate for me to see this Texas truck on my drive into the Pitt health conference on Tuesday. These are the same sorts of enclosed metal containers we have seen around Marcellus Shale drilling and fracking in Washington County, that are used to hold and transport radioactive material. Industry has known about the issues related to our black, radioactive Marcellus Shale for decades, and reporter Justin Nobel will soon be telling the world.

Tuesday’s Parkway traffic near the Fort Pitt Tunnels in Pittsburgh included this Texas licensed tractor trailer hauling two frac waste roll-offs.

Image: Tuesday’s Parkway traffic near the Fort Pitt Tunnels in Pittsburgh included this Texas licensed tractor trailer hauling two frac waste roll-offs.

Red containers holding radioactive shale drilling and fracking waste on a Washington County, Pa. well pad.

Image: Red containers holding radioactive shale drilling and fracking waste on a Washington County, Pa. well pad.

RADIOACTIVE DOT-SP 11406

Image: RADIOACTIVE DOT-SP 11406

Justin Nobel  writes on issues of science, social justice and the environment for  Rolling Stone , Oxford American and other magazines and journals.

Image: Justin Nobel writes on issues of science, social justice and the environment for Rolling Stone, Oxford American and other magazines and journals.

Justin’s introductory slide ,  “Essentially what you are doing is taking an underground radioactive reservoir and bringing it up to the biosphere where it can interact with people and the environment.”  - Nuclear forensic scientist with nearly 20 years examining radioactivity.

Image: Justin’s introductory slide“Essentially what you are doing is taking an underground radioactive reservoir and bringing it up to the biosphere where it can interact with people and the environment.” – Nuclear forensic scientist with nearly 20 years examining radioactivity.

1960  Geological Survey Professional Paper 356-A titled OIL YIELD AND URANIUM CONTENT OF BLACK SHALES - Department of the Interior

Image: 1960 Geological Survey Professional Paper 356-A titled OIL YIELD AND URANIUM CONTENT OF BLACK SHALES – Department of the Interior

“The amount of uranium in these shales is  extremely large , reckoned in billions of tons of metallic uranium.”

“The amount of uranium in these shales is extremely large, reckoned in billions of tons of metallic uranium.”

“EPA’s review of the third factor found that imposition of Subtitle C regulations for all oil and gas wastes could subject  billions of barrels of waste … and would cause a severe economic impact on the industry and on oil and gas production in the U.S.

Image: “EPA’s review of the third factor found that imposition of Subtitle C regulations for all oil and gas wastes could subject billions of barrels of waste… and would cause a severe economic impact on the industry and on oil and gas production in the U.S.

“It has been argued that if you close the loophole you would put the industry out of business.”

Image: “It has been argued that if you close the loophole you would put the industry out of business.”

June 25, 1990  - RADIOACTIVE MATERIALS COULD POSE PROBLEMS FOR THE GAS INDUSTRY

Image: June 25, 1990 – RADIOACTIVE MATERIALS COULD POSE PROBLEMS FOR THE GAS INDUSTRY

In varying degrees of severity,  NORM contamination  may exist at every oil and gas production site and related facilities including pipe handling yards, metal reclamation areas, natural gas and NGL pipelines, gasoline plants, and NGL refineries and terminals.

Image: In varying degrees of severity, NORM contamination may exist at every oil and gas production site and related facilities including pipe handling yards, metal reclamation areas, natural gas and NGL pipelines, gasoline plants, and NGL refineries and terminals.

HEALTH RISKS OF  RADON  AND OTHER INTERNALLY DEPOSITED ALPHA-EMITTERS - BEIR IV

Image: HEALTH RISKS OF RADON AND OTHER INTERNALLY DEPOSITED ALPHA-EMITTERS – BEIR IV

“Down at the very low doses you actually get more cancers (at low doses) than you do at the high doses. Now, I’m not saying that you get more cancers at these low doses than at high doses. I’m saying that damage per unit dose is greater at these levels. And that’s true in part because the high levels will more often kill cells outright, whereas  low levels of exposure tend to injure cells rather than kill them , and it is the surviving, injured cells that the  cause for concern .”

Image: “Down at the very low doses you actually get more cancers (at low doses) than you do at the high doses. Now, I’m not saying that you get more cancers at these low doses than at high doses. I’m saying that damage per unit dose is greater at these levels. And that’s true in part because the high levels will more often kill cells outright, whereas low levels of exposure tend to injure cells rather than kill them, and it is the surviving, injured cells that the cause for concern.”

October 1931  - THE OCCURRENCE OF MALIGNANCY IN RADIOACTIVE PERSONS

Image: October 1931 – THE OCCURRENCE OF MALIGNANCY IN RADIOACTIVE PERSONS

Showing location of  sarcoma  with pathologic fracture.

Image: Showing location of sarcoma with pathologic fracture.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported:

Pennsylvania to fund studies into fracking health impact
November 22, 2019 – The Pennsylvania Department of Health has authorized $3 million to study whether shale gas operations have raised the risk of rare childhood cancers within the Canon-McMillan School District in Washington County and throughout southwestern Pennsylvania, among other potential health impacts. On Friday, it said the grant specifically will fund “a case control study of childhood cancers, including Ewing sarcoma, in response to concerns raised about the prevalence of rare cancers in the southwestern area of the state.” A second study will focus on “acute conditions, such as asthma and birth outcomes, that have previously showed some relations to certain industries in published literature,” the announcement states.

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE
Showing location of radiation osteitis in left hip. There is strong presumptive evidence that sarcoma is developing in this case.

Image: Showing location of radiation osteitis in left hip. There is strong presumptive evidence that sarcoma is developing in this case.

Radioactive dial painter study.

Image: Radioactive dial painter study.

1904  - A RADIOACTIVE GAS FROM CRUDE PETROLEUM

Image: 1904 – A RADIOACTIVE GAS FROM CRUDE PETROLEUM

What to study!

Image: What to study!

Pittsburgh newspaper:

Pa DEP staffers called to testify before grand jury on shale gas crimes
November 21, 2019 – Scott Perry, who heads the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s oil and gas office, has confirmed that he and several other agency employees have testified before a state grand jury investigating environmental crimes involving the shale gas industry. Mr. Perry appeared before the criminal grand jury Nov. 14 as it met in Pittsburgh and said a “couple dozen” other DEP employees had testified before him.

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE
This slide, from a previous speaker at the Pittsurgh health conference on Tuesday, was very telling about the huge volumes of shale waste. Between 2010 and 2017, part of that waste was  367 tons (734,000 pounds) of drilling and fracking waste  with extremely high levels of radioactivity, requiring it to be shipped to  Utah .

Image: This slide, from a previous speaker at the Pittsurgh health conference on Tuesday, was very telling about the huge volumes of shale waste. Between 2010 and 2017, part of that waste was 367 tons (734,000 pounds) of drilling and fracking waste with extremely high levels of radioactivity, requiring it to be shipped to Utah.

UPDATE: Video of Justin Nobel’s full presentation “Reporting on Radioactivity in Oil & Gas Development”

We’re now learning how much of the effluent from local landfill drilling waste is reaching our rivers, sources of our tapwater, with the Radium 226 (Ra226) portion being water soluble.

What, Me Worry?
ALFRED E. NEUMAN

2 Comments on “Radioactive Dumps in Pennsylvania From Fracking

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