The ‘Un-Natural Gas’ Radioactive Waste Stream

A well-written and researched story by Justin Nobel was published yesterday on DeSmog: ‘This Needs to Be Fixed’: Nuclear Expert Calls Radioactivity Levels Found Outside Ohio Oilfield Waste Facility ‘Excessive’.

Justin’s MUST READ story is about a facility in Martins Ferry, Ohio, that processes radioactive waste from oil and gas production from the Marcellus Shale and Utica Shale, with those shales lying deep beneath parts of the Ohio-West Virginia-Pennsylvania tri-state region. The Marcellus and Utica shales are known to be even more radioactive than other drilling areas in the United States, with Radium 226 being of the greatest concern. It’s extra troubling once you learn Ra226 is water-soluble, giving it additional mobility beyond its solid state.

The DeSmog story points out how the ‘super-hot’ radioactive shale drilling waste is shipped to Utah, in leaky railcars on occasion, while other radioactive drilling and fracking waste is “down blended” and deposited in ordinary landfills, that were originally designed to just hold everyday household garbage and debris, with their liners having about a 100-year lifespan. Trouble is, Ra226 has a 1,600-year radioactive half life, whether diluted or not, and again, water soluble, enabling it to leave the landfill as leachate.

The leachate issue is why some refer to these landfills as ‘toxic teabags.’
2014 statistics for the Westmoreland Landfill are included in the image below:

Public Herald has published a number of podcasts and stories about this waste network in Pennsylvania: ‘We Found The Names of Radioactive Waste Locations That Government Kept Secret‘.

Liquid oil and gas waste is being spread, both legally and illegally, on our public roads, and the Pennsylvania attorney general has just launched a new investigation.

Instead of rapidly expanding on renewable energy sources, Pennsylvania GOP politicians are working hard to keep us locked in a ‘fossil fool’ past. One that has a one thousand, six hundred year legacy – this time around!

Leave a Reply