at the Citizen Power Alliance 2010 Wind Conference
Is New York's Marcellus Shale Too Hot to Handle?
|As New York gears up for gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale, state officials have made a potentially troubling discovery about the wastewater created by the process: It's radioactive. And they have yet to say how they'll deal with it.|
The information comes from New York's Department of Environmental Conservation, which analyzed 13 samples of wastewater brought thousands of feet to the surface from drilling and found that they contain levels of radium-226, a derivative of uranium, as high as 267 times the limit safe for discharge into the environment and thousands of times the limit safe for people to drink.
The findings, if backed up with more tests, have several implications: The energy industry would likely face stiffer regulations and greater expenses, and have more trouble finding treatment plants to accept its waste -- if any would at all. And the state would have to sort out how its laws for radioactive waste might apply to drilling and how the waste could affect water supplies and the environment.
What is less clear is how the wastewater may affect the health of New Yorkers, since the danger depends on how much radiation people are exposed to, and there is still disagreement over the effects of low-level doses on people.
The DEC has yet to address any of these questions. But New York's Health Department raised concerns about the water samples in a confidential letter to the DEC in July.
(Click to read entire article)
posted by CITIZEN POWER ALLIANCE at 3:10 PM - permanent link
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