Canadian Guidelines for the Management of Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials (NORM) by Gov’t of Canada, 2013, ISBN: 978-1-100-23019-1; Cat. No.: H129-34/2013E-PDF
Sanctions against polluters are feeble and out of date, and are rarely invoked.
Excellent rivetting 2:18 Min clip of testimony by Justin Nobel, addressing David Allard, Head of Pennsylvania Dept Environmental Protection’s Bureau of Radiation Protection, who had spoken just before him (more on Allard below):
Mr. Nobel tweeted these photos of workers cleaning up oil and gas industry waste:
James Joyce is right about history being a nightmare– but it may be that nightmare from which no one can awaken. People are trapped in history and history is trapped in them.
Justin Nobel’s complete testimony:
Justin Nobel testimony for Waste Loophole Policy Hearing – Sept 28 2021
Good Day, My name is Justin Nobel. I have a dual master’s degree in earth and environmental science and journalism, write regularly on issues of science and the environment for US magazines and investigative sites, and I am presently writing a book on the issue of the radioactivity brought to the surface in oil and gas production and the many different pathways of contamination posed to the industry’s workers, the public and communities, and the environment to be published with Simon & Schuster. I have spent the last four years speaking to oil and gas industry workers across Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, North Dakota, Michigan, Montana, Colorado, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Texas as well as residents, regulators, scientists, and I have extensively researched over 115 years of records and academic research on this topic. A two-year investigation I published in 2020 in Rolling Stone magazine, “America’s Radioactive Secret,” was recently awarded best long-form narrative with the National Association of Science Writers.
I quote, “Almost all materials of interest and use to the petroleum industry contain measurable quantities of radionuclides that reside finally in process equipment, product streams, or waste. In addition…brine solutions from operating wells contain biologically significant quantities of Radium 226 and Radon 222.” These lines do not come from a research scientist at some elite university far removed from the oil patch, they do not come the newsletter of an environmental action group which may have a vested interest in halting oil and gas production. These lines, in fact, come from a 1982 report of the Department of Medicine and Biology, of the American Petroleum Institute. The report goes on to describe the radioactivity risks of the industry’s waste, quote, “Radium 226 is a potent source of radiation exposure, both internal and external…Radon 222 and its daughters cause the most severe impact to the public health.”
The 1982 American Petroleum Institute report also invalidates the popular idea, in this state and others, of encouraging the recycling or re-use of produced water and other oil and gas industry waste products. Again, I quote from the American Petroleum Institute report, “Any control methodology proposed for radioactive materials must recognize the fact that radioactivity can not be modified or made inert by chemical means. It also must recognize that radioactivity dissipates at fixed rates through fixed sequences or series. Decay to daughter products cannot be guaranteed to reduce the hazard…” And just a few lines later the American Petroleum Institute report points out that any attempt to remove radioactivity is merely transforming, quote, “a very dilute source of radioactive materials into a very concentrated source of radioactivity.”
And this is the conundrum we end up in when we take something that is clearly hazardous and label it non-hazardous, thus allowing human beings to intimately interact with it. Those human beings are at risk. Those human beings will get sick. Those human beings are not being protected or paid appropriately given the materials they are handling. Those human beings are the oil and gas workers whose jobs many in this chamber like to boast about.
First, a quick recap. What is oil and gas waste? We are talking about an extremely salty stream of liquid waste that the industry innocently refers to as “brine” or “produced water”—it is loaded with human carcinogens such as benzene, toxic heavy metals such as arsenic and lead, and it can be loaded with extraordinarily high levels of the radioactive element radium. We are talking about massive amounts of drill cuttings brought to the surface in the process of drilling through the uranium and thorium-rich Marcellus shale.Encana/Ovintiv documents show that in my community and many surrounding areas, the company was targetting the radioactive fish scale shales while commingling and frac’ing into fresh water zones on hundreds of gas wells. We are talking about various scales and sludges that form in wellhead pipes, pumps, valves and tanks and can have radioactivity levels 100,000 times limits EPA has set for soil at even the nation’s most toxic cleanup sites, such as Superfund sites and uranium mills. The 1976 Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, or RCRA, was an attempt to appropriately define and characterize the nation’s hazardous waste in an effort to keep workers and communities safe. And yet under the 1980 Solid Waste Disposal Act amendments, all of this epic amount of oil and gas waste, despite containing clear hazardous properties, received a stunning exemption known as the Bentsen and Bevill Amendments, enabling it to be labeled as non-hazardous.
EPA was charged to determine the appropriateness of the exemption and concluded in 1988 that although oil and gas waste contained concerning levels of lead, arsenic, barium, and uranium, and although the agency admittedly did not assess many of the major potential risks, formally labeling the oil and gas industry’s “billions of barrels of waste” as hazardous would “cause a severe economic impact on the industry.” At the time, the American Petroleum Institute calculated the nationwide cost of compliance with such a program to be over $40 billion. So, science was ignored, industry worker health was ignored, public health was ignored, in favor of saving this industry money.
That means when oil and gas waste goes into a truck to go off to an injection well, there is absolutely no labeling or wording on that truck to convey to the driver, communities the driver drives through, other road-users, or first responders such as EMT and firefighters, what is in that truck. This is the untold problem of this industry’s regulatory relief. We can run trucks filled with hazardous waste through Pennsylvania communities and not tell people what is in the trucks and we can take those trucks to places called injection wells, often located in Ohio, such as this one, which is literally on the edge of a shopping plaza in Cambridge Ohio. You can eat at Taco Bello, or Starbucks, or get your iPhone fixed at Verizon, and you can watch trucks unload hazardous waste right in front of your eyes, as you finish your taco or Frappuccino. Oil and gas’s hazardous waste exemption makes this shameful public health disaster possible.
But oil and gas’s hazardous waste exemption makes something even more concerning possible. This is a photo of an oil and gas worker in Ohio, but I know from talking to workers in Pennsylvania that this type of job is performed in this state as well.
These workers wear regular work uniform (FRs), hard hat with a face shield, typically no respirator, no dosimeter, no mask. They crawl inside the truck’s “clamshell” or manhole, with a shovel and pressure washer and shovel everything out the bottom, then use a steam cleaner to clean the sides and the bottom. “They just keep chasing the waste to the back, just like you would with your dad’s garage floor. These guys will challenge each other to spend a lot of time in there, trying to be tough, if you complain to your boss they’ll say, ‘Shut up, don’t like it go home, you are lucky to have a job.’” I’ve received harrowing tales directly from oil and gas workers (and their terrified moms), of the toxic and radioactive cleaning jobs they did – without any protective gear. To me, the most horrifying impact to these workers was that all of them were too terrified to go public, including those that had quit their jobs, wisely realizing the money wasn’t worth the health harms.
Just because you do not believe the science or know the science or care to read a few research papers to understand the science does not mean the science doesn’t exist, and does not mean the science won’t eventually lead to lethal cancers in the Pennsylvania workers you are charged with protecting. I sincerely hope the state of Pennsylvania will close the oil and gas waste loophole.
But either way, your paltry regulations have already enabled an easily traceable trail of contamination to be spilled across the great state of Pennsylvania, and quite literally, deposited in the bones and bodies of its people. Unbeknown to most people there have been legal cases in Louisiana, one settled as recently as 2016, showing that various cancers received by oil and gas workers, including chronic lymphocytic leukemia, lymphoblastic leukemia, prostate cancer, lung cancer, liver cancer, colon cancer, have been linked to radioactivity exposure received on the job. These workers, 33 of them in this one case, over a number of years were exposed to various types of radioactive oil and gas waste—waste that our US laws say is “non-hazardous.”
And yet, a program developed by the CDC for nuclear weapons workers called the Interactive RadioEpidemiological Program or IREP was used to determine the likelihood that these worker’s cancers came from their occupational exposures—many of the numbers returned by the IREP program are in the range of 95 to 99 percent. As the nuclear physicist who served on this case told me, these numbers are undeniable. All of these workers cases were settled by the oil and gas industry, and this is an industry that does not like to settle. But the workers still suffer, of course. They still die of cancer.
Why have we not seen a cluster of oil and gas worker cancers in the Marcellus? The answer is actually tragic—no one is really looking for them, and many of these cancers take on the order of 15 to 20 years to develop, so there has not been ample time for them to emerge. Well, we are now 15 years on. And we are now looking. And I want folks voting on this legislation to remember that. And this problem goes far beyond oil and gas workers, it seeps into the communities that contain landfills which were largely intended for household and light commercial trash and in the almost two decades of Marcellus and Utica development have taken hundreds of thousands of tons of drill cuttings and other oil and gas waste products including used frac sand. The sewage treatment plants processing leachate from these landfills have no ability to remove various oil and gas contaminants including the radioactivity and thus oilfield waste has been, and continues to be, discharged right back into Pennsylvania waterways that Pennsylvanians rely on for fishing, boating, and yes drinking and bathing water too. A 2018 EPA report on the topic the agency has done little to advertise states that, “Documented and potential impacts to both aquatic life and human health related to discharges from CWT facilities treating oil and gas extraction wastewater exist.”
Again, I go back to the 1982 American Petroleum Institute report, “Any control methodology proposed for radioactive materials must recognize the fact that radioactivity can not be modified or made inert by chemical means.” You cannot make this problem disappear with magic. But you do have an opportunity now to address what is a clear public health emergency, you have an opportunity now to keep communities safe, and keep the oil and gas workers you claim to care so much about safe. Thank you very much.
— END —
From Bob Donnan in PA:
For those who haven’t watched the recent Pa. Senate hearing held by Senator Katie Muth, you owe it to yourself and your family to watch, listen and learn. If you can’t sit through the entire 4 hour, 44 minute production, definitely watch the second half (beginning around the 2:30:00 mark), and if you want the super-scary Cliff’s Notes version about your drinking and bath water (pointing to the moniker that “DEP” means “Don’t Expect Protection”) – definitely watch the Guy Kruppa segment toward the end (beginning at the 4:06:40 mark).
Whether irresponsible individuals need to go to prison or Hell, or both, you can judge that!
Policy Hearing on Closing Hazardous Waste Loopholes (appears only viewable by people in PA)
Written testimony – Guy C. Kruppa, Superintendent Belle Vernon Municipal Authority:
A brief description of my dealings regarding the toxic waste loophole. In my experience, I was dealing with a local landfill that was excepting drill cuttings from gas well sites that was laced with radioactivity among other toxic constituents. When I became employed here at Belle Vernon, I noticed our bug population in our activated sludge wastewater plant was experiencing die off. We were getting toxic shock loads of wastewater from the landfill, which was discovered only after thousands of dollars spent by our authority to uncover. Our authority received ZERO assistance from the PA DEP, and as a matter of fact, I was told by the DEP that it was our problem to solve due to our authority possessing the permit to discharge rather than the landfill itself. After numerous months of testing by our certified lab, testing conducted by WVU, research conducted by Dr. John Stoltz of Duquesne University and collecting flow data, we finally retained an environmental attorney, Smith-Butz, Kendra and John Smith. By hiring these attorneys, we were able to get an injunction placed against the landfill forbidding them to discharge to us again. The DEP did not want this to occur, even suggesting that our authority continue to accept this waste and any violations and fines our authority receive be paid by the landfill. This suggestion is on record in an email from the DEP, which I possess and shared with Special Agent Brian Kosoglow of the Environmental Crime dept. of the attorney general office, Josh Shapiro. Throughout these times of us knowingly polluting source water, I was reporting monthly our violations to the DEP. I essentially had to “self report” our insufficient performance of our wastewater plant.
When I brought these findings to the DEP reps, they told me the landfill is allowed to accept drill cuttings. The DEP told me the landfill was doing nothing wrong. He lies the “Loophole”. Since the landfill had no water discharge permit, they were allowed to send anything they wanted down the pipe to us, and the DEP would crack down on us, the authority, owners of the wastewater plant. The realization of how large this problem was came when I spoke to a landfill worker after our plant received such a large shock load of water, the neighboring fire hall that was serving fish, had to evacuate the building due to the strong odor of diesel fuel. I spoke with this gentleman immediately after the shock load was sent, he had tears in his eyes, thinking myself and another employee of mine were going to physically assault him for doing what he did on direct orders from the landfill ownership. He told me the landfill was accepting such large amounts of drill cuttings that if this was Ohio, they would be arrested. The trucks were delivering the cuttings, soaked in diesel fuel in the cloak of darkness, before the landfill was opened for the day, and on weekends when the landfill was closed. Additionally, I was told the trucks were bypassing the scales so the amount would not be on record. He said the radiation was so great, it would be illegal to transport over public roads. This radiation was confirm through our lab results. This was a brief synopsis of what went on, I’m leaving out so much detail, that this email would be pages long. I will certainly expand during questioning.
Guy C. Kruppa Belle Vernon Municipal Authority-Superintendent
10 Main St. Belle Vernon Pa, 15012
Cell- 724-434-3324 Office- 724-929-8138 Fax- 724-929-8146
Comment by Bob Donnan of PA: During his video testimony, Mr. Kruppa said his sewage plant was accepting 300,000 gallons per day of leachate from the landfill. He wonders aloud where that leachate is going now, since local residents haven’t seen much trucking activity that would be needed to haul it away. That would roughly be the equivalent of 70 brine tanker loads per day. So where’s it going??
Water Concerns Raised at Belmont County Commission Meeting by Robert A. Defrank, Oct 1, 2021, The Intelligencer
Guests brought environmental concerns — chiefly about the Austin Master frack waste recycling plant in Martins Ferry — to the Belmont County Board of Commissioners on Wednesday.
Ray Canter of Martins Ferry, a member of Concerned Ohio River Residents, and others voiced fears that the waste processing facility might contaminate county water sources near the Ohio River. Commissioner Josh Meyer asked if a study has been done regarding any danger to the county aquifers.
“There should be studies. You can’t just assume,” he said.
“It’s time to take action now,” Holly Eckert of Wheeling said. “Stop waiting for a study.”
Bev Reed, another member of CORR, showed pictures taken at Austin Master during an Ohio Department of Natural Resources inspection in November 2020, as well as reports she said describe “sloppy” handling of waste.
“There’s waste on the floor, it’s spilling out of containment bins. It’s not contained. There was a leaking roof leading to water being on the floors,” Reed said.
Commissioner Jerry Echemann said the environmentalists should reach out to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and other state agencies and lawmakers.
“Most of this information has been brought to us before. We appreciate these people coming in,” Echemann said. “We don’t have the authority as a county commission to do some of the things that I think they’re asking us to do. We’re not an environmental board.”
The audience members asked the commissioners to speak to these agencies, state lawmakers and city leaders as well. They also asked to meet with county Sanitary Sewer District Director Kelly Porter.
Afterward, Dutton and Meyer said ODNR has been performing quarterly inspections on the site for three years. Meyer added that the reports included pictures and information from as late as February 2021.
“The whole story needs to be told and not just a partial piece of that story,” Meyer said.
Chris Martin, spokesman for Austin Master, said the company complies with state regulations and recommendations.
“We work very closely with ODNR, and all of our processes have been reviewed by ODNR and are continually improved based on their recommended actions,” Martin said. “We do not generate any waste at our facility. … We’re a waste remediation facility.”
He said waste from the oil and gas industry is delivered to the facility in a wet form. It is separated and distributed from the plant.
“The improvements we have made are based on the ODNR reports, but they have not been specific to the process, they have been more to the storage of the waste that arrives,” he said. “The reports show a snapshot in time based on the ODNR representatives who visit the facility, and it’s our responsibility to make improvements upon that.”
A spokeswoman from ODNR was contacted and said she would look into the inspections of the Austin Master facility. She did not provide any additional information by press time.
In a separate matter, the Rev. Michael Ziebarth, pastor of the Greek Orthodox Christian Church of the Life-Giving Fountain in Martins Ferry, thanked the commissioners for responding to earlier inquiries about whether the county is testing its water for Per- and Polyfluorakyl substances, the chemicals that were found in Bridgeport’s water system.
Bridgeport is now purchasing water from Martins Ferry.
Ziebarth was told the county is testing for these chemicals. He added that he believes every community along the Ohio River should have its water tested.
“We know these chemicals are toxic,” Ziebarth said. “We know the EPA closed down Bridgeport. Why not test our water on a regular basis for this problem?” …
PA DEP: Potential for Environmental Impacts From Spills or Leaks of Radioactive Oil & Gas Waste Materials is Real, Health Dept. Not Aware of All Chemicals in Oil & Gas Wastewater Making Risk Assessment Difficult by David E. Hess, Sept 30, 2021, Pa. Environmental Digest Blog
On September 30, Sen. Katie Muth (D-Chester) and Rep. Sara Innamorato (D-Allegheny) co-chaired a hearing by the Senate Democratic Policy Committee on the environmental and health dangers associated with oil and gas drilling waste in Pennsylvania.
These members introduced Senate Bill 645 (Muth-D-Chester) and House Bill 1355 (Innamorato-D-Allegheny) that would repeal oil and gas industry exemption from complying with the Solid Waste Management Act and include drilling waste in the definition of hazardous waste in an attempt to deal with many of these issues. … Representatives of the Department of Environmental Protection said at the hearing-
— The potential for environmental impact from spills or leaks of TENORM [naturally occurring radiation] contaminated oil and gas drilling waste material is real.
— DEP acknowledged areas needing more research included: continued sampling of landfill leachate …, further investigation of roads treated with oil and gas brines …, and sampling during gas pipeline pigging operations from its 2016 TENORM study.
— Last year, the amount of TENORM waste (200,000 cubic feet) exceeded the amount of low level radioactive waste (150,000 cubic feet) went to Class A low-level radioactive waste in Texas and Utah.
— DEP does not routinely cross check the waste numbers submitted to DEP by oil and
gas drilling companies and landfills accepting the wastes, due to staff and funding issues.
— DEP does not do routine radium/radioactivity testing as part of the Oil and Gas Program’s water contamination investigations because they are looking for unique chemicals typical of drilling operations.
— DEP has no position on Senate Bill 645 (Muth-D-Chester) and House Bill 1355
The Department of Health ’s written testimony presented to the Committee on the health
threats posed by oil and gas drilling said–
“We are aware that certain contaminants, radioactive materials, and other additives are
components of the wastewater produced during the natural gas fracturing process. Some of those additives could pose a risk to humans depending on the prevalence and level of exposure.
“Further, the Department is not aware of the full spectrum of the additives contained in oil and gas wastewater and as a result may not be able to assess the level of risk posed by its release into the general environment.
“Given these circumstances, from a purely public health standpoint, PA DOH believes that measures to prevent or reduce human contact with potential contaminants is beneficial.”
Here’s a summary of comments from a number of presenters at the hearing.
Amy Mall, Natural Resources Defense Council, provided an overview of a report issued by NRDC in July– A Hot Fracking Mess: How Weak Regulation of Oil And Gas Production Leads to Radioactive Waste in our Water, Air, and Communities.
“While we are concerned about all toxic components in waste associated with oil and gas exploration and production, this report focused specifically on radioactive waste and concluded that gaps in our regulatory structure allow radioactive oil and gas materials to go virtually unregulated.
“We are concerned because radium-226 and radium-228, both present in oil and gas waste, can cause bone and connective tissue cancer. In addition, radium decays into radioisotopes that can attach themselves to dust and, if inhaled, cause lung cancer.
“Radon decay products, including lead-210 and polonium-210, are also present in high levels in some equipment and can further contribute to cancer risk. Along with cancer risk, scientists are currently investigating the potential non-cancer health effects of radioactive particles, such as blood pressure and heart and lung conditions.
“Throughout the oil and gas development process, radioactive material can enter the environment both accidentally and intentionally. During production, equipment such as compressors, pumps, and pipes may be exposed to radioactive material; that equipment becomes waste when it is maintained or replaced and materials are transported to storage or disposal sites.
“Radiation can be present in materials that are spilled or leaked from pits, tanks, or landfills. It is found in drill cuttings, produced water, and tank sludge. “And it can be intentionally reintroduced into the environment through methods such as road spreading, where wastewater is sprayed directly onto roads for dust suppression or de-icing.
“It’s important to note that the dangers of radioactive oil and gas waste are not limited to wellpads or tank farms, because the waste can be transported to different storage, handling, and disposal sites.”
Click Here for a copy of the NRDC’s entire written testimony. The links to the testimony, as with the complete hearing clip, appear to be inaccesible for non PA persons
John Stolz, Director of the Center for Environmental Research and Education at Duquesne University, said there is little difference between conventional and unconventional oil and gas drilling wastewater– “brine.”
“I’ve gotten several series of produced water from both conventional wells and from unconventional wells and the characteristics, although a little different with the varying constituents, it’s pretty much very similar and when we talk about things like bromide, which is important for public drinking water, as well as the radioactivity,” said Stolz.
“We now have the data, we now have the science, my group, the Penn State group, any number of groups, have done the chemistry and we know this stuff is toxic,” said Stolz. “The most recent study that was funded by DEP by Penn State, was to see if road brining with conventional fluids was beneficial and it turned out it actually destroyed the roads and was worse than no treatment at all.” …
Justin Nobel, an investigative reporter, outlined the findings from an article he did for Rolling Stone Magazine– America’s Radioactive Secret– on radioactivity in oil and gas industry liquid and solid wastes.
“We are talking about an extremely salty stream of liquid waste that the industry innocently refers to as “brine” or “produced water”—it is loaded with human carcinogens such as benzene, toxic heavy metals such as arsenic and lead, and it can be loaded with extraordinarily high levels of the radioactive element radium.
“We are talking about massive amounts of drill cuttings brought to the surface in the process of drilling through the uranium and thorium-rich Marcellus shale.
“We are talking about various scales and sludges that form in wellhead pipes, pumps, valves and tanks and can have radioactivity levels 100,000 times limits EPA has set for soil at even the nation’s most toxic cleanup sites, such as Superfund sites and uranium mills.”
“ The [federal] 1976 Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, or RCRA, was an attempt to appropriately define and characterize the nation’s hazardous waste in an effort to keep workers and communities safe. “And yet under the 1980 Solid Waste Disposal Act amendments, all of this epic amount of oil and gas waste, despite containing clear hazardous properties, received a stunning exemption known as the Bentsen and Bevill Amendments, enabling it to be labeled as non-hazardous.”
[As a result of this exemption,] “We can run trucks filled with hazardous waste through Pennsylvania communities and not tell people what is in the trucks and we can take those trucks to places called injection wells, often located in Ohio, such as this one, which is literally on the edge of a shopping plaza in Cambridge Ohio.”
Melissa Troutman, Co-Founder of the Public Herald, shared the story of how oil and gas wastes became exempt from federal and state hazardous waste laws and concerns about radioactivity in these wastes.
“According to a 2016 U.S. EPA analysis, the average concentration of radium-226 in 74 samples of Marcellus shale wastewater was 1,700 picocuries per liter. For comparison, the limit for drinking water is 5 picocuries per liter.
“Radium is a known human carcinogen, has a half life of 1,600 years, and is one of the most prevalent forms of TENORM in oil and gas waste.
“The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s own TENORM study of radioactivity in oil and gas waste found that concentrations of radium in both drilling and fracking fluids were similar, reaching levels as high as 26,600 picocuries per liter.
“PA DEP has downplayed the results of its own oil and gas TENORM study, choosing to ignore critical pieces within its dataset that Public Herald recently uncovered and will be reporting to the public very soon.
“The risks from oil and gas waste extend far beyond the places where it originates. It sometimes travels hundreds of miles across the Commonwealth through unsuspecting communities to be disposed of landfills and rivers that then carry it downstream, even out-of-state.
“The solution is an equitable one – remove exemptions and place the oil and gas industry back on a level playing field with all other industry sectors. This is a simple solution rooted in common sense, not politics. Health and justice are the rights of everyone, regardless of where a person falls on a political or ideological spectrum.”
Joshua Pribanic, Public Herald, said, “Ten years of investigations by Public Herald have revealed that there is substantially more water contamination in Pennsylvania than EPA or PA DEP have acknowledged in favor of diluted and false conclusions about the potential impacts of unconventional oil and gas fracking.”
Pribanic summarized many of the major articles published by Public Herald on these issues.
Guy Kruppa, Belle Vernon Municipal Authority, described the issues they had treating leachate from the Westmoreland County Landfill that accepted oil and gas drilling wastes.
David Allard, Director of DEP Bureau of Radiation Protection, provided a detailed explanation of the radiation exposure from solid waste, and oil and gas drilling waste in particular. He described recent actions to require radiological testing of leachate at landfills accepting drilling waste and a study DEP did in 2016 on natural radiation [TENORM} in the oil and gas industry from well sites, through pipelines and other points in the development of this resource. …
“The  study concluded that TENORM is a low risk to the public and workers. Conclusions also noted a potential for environmental impact from liquid oil and gas wastewater spills, and some wastewater treatment sludge exceeded DOT criteria,” said Allard. … “The radioactivity doesn’t seem to be a major issue [with drilling wastes],” Allard said to the Committee. !!!!!
Scott Perry, DEP Deputy Secretary for Oil and Gas Management, did not have written testimony, but responded to questions from Committee members. …
When questioned about the tracking of drilling waste from where they are generated to where they are disposed, Perry said they don’t routinely cross check the waste numbers submitted to DEP by oil and gas companies and landfills accepting the wastes due to staffing and funding issues.
Perry said when DEP did do a comparison there have been discrepancies with landfills reporting more waste accepted from oil and gas companies than they shipped, adding some of those mistakes were “scrivner” errors or mistakes with units of weight– pounds versus tons.
Ray Barishansky, Deputy Secretary for Health Preparedness and Community Protection with the Department of Health, submitted written testimony to the Committee. The testimony notes the department maintains an Oil and Natural Gas Production Health Concerns Registry to allow citizens an opportunity to report environmental health complaints specifically related to oil and natural gas drilling or production-related activities to the department for follow up.
Since 2011, the Department has received 177 reports of health problems through the Registry. The department urges any Pennsylvanian concerned with potential environmental health impacts related to oil and gas development operations to contact registry staff at 717-787-3350 to make a complaint. The testimony says,
“We are aware that certain contaminants, radioactive materials, and other additives are components of the wastewater produced during the natural gas fracturing process. Some of those additives could pose a risk to humans depending on the prevalence and level of exposure.
“Further, the Department is not aware of the full spectrum of the additives contained in oil and gas wastewater and as a result may not be able to assess the level of risk posed by its release into the general environment.
“Given these circumstances, from a purely public health standpoint, PA DOH believes that measures to prevent or reduce human contact with potential contaminants is beneficial.
“We understand that there may be practical considerations in testing and treating waste of this type that are beyond our scope and better addressed by DEP.
“Nevertheless, efforts to reduce some of the potential for exposure where risk exists would be helpful.
The two photos below show how Encana/Ovintiv gets rid of its waste and treats Canadian communities the company operates in (no wonder the company had to run away to the USA):
2011, just upwind from the community of Rosebud Alberta, on a very windy day, as residents were exiting church (what did Encana’s ruthless greed make us breath?):
2012, same crop land as above, obviously Encana/Ovintiv doesn’t give a damn about the communities, people, wildlife, food, environment, drinking water it pollutes:
When I was filming the above waste dumping by Encana/Ovintiv, one of the trucks surprised me, raced off lease towards me. Before I realized his intent, my dog Magic (he was a diligent guard dog, always came along) and I were sprayed with waste (I leapt to get into the truck and close windows and doors, but I was too late and breathed in deeply in shock).We reeked, so did my truck. My sinuses, eyes, skin, mouth, throat burned like hell for weeks; my sinuses and eyes never fully recovered (I expect no part of me did). Magic went from a healthy happy strong incredibly agile dog to vomitting repeatedly day and night, stumbling, tipping over, dramatic weight loss, and died within a year).
Refer also to:
2011: Baytex submits action plan to ERCB following accidental land spraying with crude oil Accidental or intentionally accidental?
2013: BC OGC orders closure, drainage and remediation of Talisman’s leaking toxic frac waste water pit, Talisman says tests show soil and groundwater contaminated with chemicals How many frac waste pits leak in Canada? How many pastures and croplands poisoned by oil and gas companies “landspreading” / “landspraying” their toxic radioactive waste? Who is looking, other than the harmed (that our authorities ignore and or violate our rights, with judges lying in rulings to protect law violating authorities and denigrate the harmed seeking justice)?
Progress? It clear that frac’ing does not represent progress.
Nova Scotians think for themselves, say no to Triangle’s plan to dump millions of litres of 7 year old frac waste into Amherst water treatment system on Tantramar Marshes So it goes into cement instead!
AG Josh Shapiro: 48 Criminal Charges against Energy Transfer (prev Sunoco) for polluting “lakes, rivers, and our water wells” and putting Pennsylvanians’ safety at risk, 45 charges for “illegally releasing industrial waste at 22 sites in 11 different counties.” Executive Deputy AG Jennifer Selber: “Non disclosure orders are a hinderance to criminal investigations and prosecutions.”
Drought makes California cut water for 4,300 rights holders, some will be entirely without while oil companies continue to remove billions of gallons of water from the hydrogeological cycle via frac’ing, and inject toxic waste into protected aquifers.
Largest inland spill in history: U.S. Dept Justice files criminal and civil charges against Summit Midstream Partners LLC, $36Million in fines for discharging (dumping?) 111,284,642 litres frac waste over 5 months, contaminating land, groundwater, and 30 miles of tributary waters with crude oil, chloride, sodium, ammonia, aluminum, arsenic, boron, copper, nickel, selenium, zinc, barium, benzene, thallium and more. When will cowardly AER and Canada’s Dept Justice charge/fine Encana/Ovintiv for illegally frac’ing and contaminating Rosebud’s aquifers and diverting water without the mandatory permit under Alberta’s Water Act?
Ohio, Noble Co: Genesis Resources LLC gas well (unused for years) sprays out what is suspected to be toxic injected frac waste (radioactive?); Over two miles of fish kill. Chemical contents will most likely never be disclosed. In a similar incident in 2020, injected frac waste migrated more than five miles.
New Study: Dumping oil & gas drilling wastewater on roads provides little dust suppression, contains toxic chemicals harmful to public health, agriculture, aquatic life. (PS It’s just about giving industry more corporate welfare via free waste dumping)
Pennsylvania: Delmont-based Penneco Environmental Solutions’ frac waste injection rears secretive toxic radioactive head. Dr. Ned Ketyer: “Fracking has a toxic and radioactive waste problem that has never been adequately addressed and solved.”
Frac’ers’ Friends in High Places: Past Greene Co President Judge Farley Toothman (let criminal frac waste dumper Allan Shipman walk) violated state Constitution: “engaged in misconduct so extreme that brought the judicial office into disrepute”
Rystad Energy on Oil & Gas Industry’s Dark Monster: Waste water increasing number of felt earthquakes & sinister deregulation allowing industry’s toxic waste to be dumped for “beneficial” use. Fancy some cancer with your celery?
America’s Radioactive Secret: Oil & gas wells produce nearly a trillion gallons of toxic waste a year in America. It could be making workers sick and contaminating communities (in Canada too). “Us bringing this stuff to the surface is like letting out the devil … It is just madness.”
Federal Competition Bureau seeks to block sale of Tervita Corp to Secure Energy Services: “Secure and Tervita are the two largest suppliers, and in many areas, the only suppliers of oil and gas waste services in the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin”
Turn toxic radioactive frac waste into bathing water to burn your babies’ skin off? To ingest, breath and live with? “It’s economically prohibitive to clean the water.” What do oil & gas companies hate more than anything? Spending money to clean up their deadly pollution, on the environment or to protect public health and our drinking water. Terrifying: Water management market for oil and gas production in the U.S. was worth $33.6 **billion** in 2018 (for their use, not ours!)
Will waste water kill fracing? EPA bans disposal of frac waste at public treatment plants. Injecting it causes seismicity, recycling it is costly, using it to irrigate and landspraying it contaminates food, dumping it into waterways kills fish, pits filled with it leak, breathing it in aerosols corrodes lungs. What will companies do with it?
Study: Oil Gas Industry Wastewater spread on roads to control dust & ice in at least 13 states, including Pennsylvania, poses threat to environment & human health; Ohio regulator tests on Aquasalina/Nature’s Own Source (made with frac waste, spread on roads, sold at Lowes and to cities for years) showed combined radium 226 & 228 exceeded USEPA Safe Drinking Water limits by average factor of 300
Radioactive frac waste piling higher and higher; Groundwater used by families showing significant increases in radium. Montana regulator, DEQ, trying to increase radiation limit for frac waste up four times, four times more than allowed in any other state.
New study: Effects of frac’ing on nearby surface water, not just groundwater, may be worse than previously thought; causing increased salts, including chloride, barium and strontium, altering composition. Researchers identified “robust association between new wells and water quality changes, triggering public health concerns.”
“Big Oil’s Dangerous Secret.” Rolling Stone Magazine Science Journalist Justin Nobel and City Senior Battalion Chief Sil Caggiano to Present Crucial Information on Harms of Radioactive Oil & Gas Waste
Remember Emergency Nurse Cathy Behr? Ohio, New Report: Widespread use of frac’ing and drilling chemicals risk water supplies and health. Companies injected undisclosed chemicals “10,992 times into 1,432 wells” enabled by the “law” that allows trade secrets, even from first responders.
The DEregulation goes on and on and on: Conventional Oil & Gas Industry Major 2019 Goal: To Restore Program To Spread Well Waste Water On Roads (without oversight and keeping toxic chemical contents secret)
New York Senate Passes Hoylman Bill to Ban the Use of Fracking Byproducts as Highway De-Icing Agents Some jurisdictions are smart and respect the rule of law when it comes to oil and gas industry harms; most are not, including most in Canada.
Fayette County, WV tried to break its energy industry dependence, banned disposal of drilling waste. Industry fought back, arguing communities don’t get a say (in being poisoned). The courts overruled the county’s common sense & public health protection.
Chemical explosions at Santa Clara Waste Water (treats, recycles, disposes waste from industrial sites), Suing insurer for $7 million; 55 injured after ‘bizarre’ chemical explosion in Santa Paula: “We just don’t know what this cocktail was”
NE BC, near Dawson Creek: Explosion at Encana fracking water facility injures worker. “We don’t know the hydrological and geological implications of drawing the saline aquifer down. We may be creating a different kind of problem.”
“What will they do with all the frac waste?” people asked Ernst on her speaking tours.”They will make us eat and drink it,” Ernst replied. (And later we find out: drive, walk, run, bike on it) And swim in it!
2003: Alberta Landspraying While Drilling (LWD) Review One of the companies doing the waste dumping during this review, was, you guessed it: Encana/Ovintiv
… Mudpacks from poorly conducted land spray operations kill native prairie and take years to ameliorate.
Problem land sprays have been left with inadequate clean up.
… Industry has failed to meet mapping and record keeping requirements. Mapping has been non-existent or completely inaccurate with examples of company maps with incorrect GPS coordinates and sites that have received double spray applications over the same land base.
… In the scope of the last eight years, average precipitation to severe drought conditions have been experienced. During this period, staff have observed more evidence of LWD materials persisting on rangeland vegetation for prolonged periods. Drought conditions exacerbate the problem of residue build up.
… The AEUB [after hiring PIs to spy on innocent Albertans and breaking the law, gov’t changed it to ERCB; after my lawsuit went public, gov’t changed it to AER] had conducted drilling waste audits on 51 LWD sites throughout the Province. The information (paper) audit consisted of a review of information supplied from companies on disposals conducted between 2001 and 2003. Of the 51 audits, eight passed….
Discussion and Summary
The review of the LWD file paper trail and of field inspection reports from the Medicine Hat office highlighted a number of failures and problems, which were common to both review components. The most common problem was that of LWD projects being applied outside of the approved area. … Finally, siting problems were common to both review components with LWD materials being applied through watercourses, on high wildlife habitat like sagebrush cover and on fragile sand dune sites. … The file review and field observations revealed that on a high percentage of sites, LWD is not being conducted according to the guidelines and is having a negative impact on native range. [Lots of galling data tables included in the review]