Visiting chemist: Gas drilling leaves ‘toxic soup’

Visiting chemist: Gas drilling leaves ‘toxic soup’ by Joseph Stender, July 14, 2012, Williamsport Sun-Gazette
Subra, a chemist who won a MacArthur Genius grant in 1999, explained that gas drilling produces waste called “flowback,” which is leftover water chemicals used when drilling. The hydraulic fracturing process contains anywhere from 60 to 160 tons of chemicals, Subra told the audience. The chemicals include laurel sulfates, biocides, corrosion inhibitors and sand. Drilling at a depth of about 6,750 feet, Subra said around 30 percent of the flowback remains in the ground. She also said how this “very toxic soup” is exempt from federal law to be regulated as hazardous. … “It takes somewhere in the neighborhood of six to eight million gallons of water (to fracture a well),” Subra said. Produced water from the wells is “severely” contaminated with radium, she added. Found in the water is benzene, arsenic, lead, mercury and radium. Subra said radium is often associated with bone and lung cancer. … “It rips a family apart when you hear these kinds of impacts,” she said. … During audience participation, Subra said when a worker is sick they go to a company doctor, which treats them as well as they can but does not tell the worker to what chemicals they are exposed.

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