The Marcellus Shale debate just got a little hotter.

Radioactive waste from the Marcellus is an issue state regulators will have to anticipate as they draft new rules for tapping the massive natural gas field under the Southern Tier.

An analysis of wastewater samples by the Department of Health found levels of radium-226, and related alpha and beta radiation that are up to 10,000 times higher than drinking water standards, according to a memo the agency sent to the Department of Environmental Conservation. That means the DEC will have to do more testing to identify drilling sites that pose radiation risks, and ensure hot drilling waste is handled and disposed of properly, according to records from the state.

How big of a problem is this?

"The issues raised are not trivial but are also not insurmountable," the health department's memo to the DEC concludes. "Many can be addressed using common engineering controls and industry best practices."

(Click to read the entire article)


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