EarthWorks just released a new report summarizing the massive volumes of waste generated by fracking in Pennsylvania.
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.
After interpreting the Bbl (barrels) of liquid waste into gallons, and the Tonnage into Lbs (pounds) of solid waste, here are the totals for 8 years of fracking waste that was disposed of in 11 different states:
15 Billion gallons of liquid waste
19 Billion pounds of solid waste
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.
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.
What’s in your tapwater?
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?
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.
Renewable energy is the future!
It’s time to put this same time, money and research into renewable energy. Renewables have a future, fossil fuels don’t. Continuing down this destructive path, to produce 5- to 10-times more of this “extreme energy” and its radioactive waste, will turn many regions of Pennsylvania into toxic wastelands.