“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)

annie_fiftyseven comment to Andrew Nikiforuk’s article in The Tyee

“There are more than 100 deep injection wells in northern B.C. The LNG industry could require the construction of hundreds more to support increased fracking.

In recent years the OGC has shut down three injection wells because of earthquake hazards and closed down another seven as their reservoir pressure reached its threshold.”

Disposing of industry’s toxic, radioactive waste is a huge problem “that’s just going to get bigger and bigger.”

August 29, 2018 – “‘Disposal nightmare’: In Permian Basin, every barrel of oil means four barrels of toxic water

… Overall, the region will pull up enough water this year alone to cover all of Rhode Island nearly a foot deep.

… Spending on water management in the Permian Basin is likely to nearly double to more than $22 billion in just five years, according to industry consultant IHS Markit. The reason is twofold. The rig count is rising, and many of the ‘workhorse’ disposal formations used for decades are starting to fill up, said Laura Capper, an industry consultant. That means explorers have to move water further to find a home for it.

It’s a problem ‘that’s just going to get bigger and bigger,’ said Wood Mackenzie analyst Ryan Duman, ‘Operators are victims of their own success.’

Drillers generally flush excess water back into the ground, often after trucking it to areas such as the San Andres, a region of the basin largely drilled-out early on in the shale boom. But now, with the boom hitting historic levels, that system is running into headwinds.

In the San Andres, wells sunk to gather oil deeper within the play are collapsing as a result of the increased pressure from water injections, causing dozens to be closed and the loss of miles of pipe, according to Andrew Hunter, a drilling engineer at Blackstone Energy Partners-backed Guidon Energy.

It’s a situation that’s ‘getting worse,’ Hunter said at a recent conference on water held in Houston. ‘I think people are afraid to talk about this problem. We’re trying to get the word out to let everyone know how serious this is.’

At the same time, earthquakes in parts of West Texas and New Mexico that include the Permian have more than tripled to 62 with at least a 2.5 magnitude in the past year, from just six two years earlier, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.”


Fortunately, there are plenty of solutions.

We can dump it on our roads:

July 2, 2018 – “Radium found in commercial roadway de-icing, dust suppression brine

An Ohio environmental organization is suing to learn more about unhealthy radiation levels in a commercial de-icing and dust suppression liquid made from gas well brine sold in several states, including Pennsylvania.

The Buckeye Environmental Network filed suit against the Ohio Department of Natural Resources last week, claiming the agency has illegally denied its request to inspect public records and documents pertaining to the environmental and health impacts of the brine product AquaSalina, manufactured by Brecksville, Ohio-based Nature’s Own Source.

According to a July 2017 ODNR report that was released early this year after the network filed a right-to-know request, the department found samples of AquaSalina that contained concentrations of radium, a known carcinogen, that are higher than those naturally occurring in brine produced from ‘conventional,’ that is non-shale, gas wells.

The ODNR’s Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management, Radiation Safety Section, tested 14 samples of AquaSalina collected from six locations in Ohio, and found radium 226 and 228 levels that exceeded the state’s ‘discharge to the environment limits’ and its safe drinking water limits by a factor of 300.

The study said the production process used by Nature’s Own Source seems to have produced ‘TENORM,’ or Technologically Enhanced Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material, that contains more radiation than the brine had when it was pushed out of the wells.

Among the sites where the ODNR obtained AquaSalina for testing in June 2017 was a Lowe’s home improvement store in Canton, Ohio, and a hardware store in Hartville, Stark County, south of Akron.

The Buckeye Environmental Network wants to inspect state records to determine where the product has been sold and used, and if follow up testing has been done as recommended by the initial study, said Teresa Mills, BEN’s executive director.

‘What is the agency trying to hide from the public?’ Ms. Mills said. ‘We requested to review all records held by the agency in order to determine how and if the agency plans to take steps to remove this product from the consumer market … [W]e believe that the public has a right to know how much radiation they have been or may be exposed to if they use this product.’

David Mansbery, Nature’s Own Source president, said he didn’t know about and hadn’t seen the ODNR report, but stressed that AquaSalina is ‘pure, natural, 400 million-year-old seawater.’

Mr. Mansbery said the product is filtered to remove volatile organic compounds and trace minerals, but ‘we don’t do anything to enhance or reduce any of the naturally occurring NORMS in the product.’

… Mr. Stolz said the ODNR report seems to show the brine production process used by Nature’s Own ‘is significantly enriching’ for both radium 226 and 228 — 11 to 92 percent — depending on the test location.

‘The levels in the de-icer were typically over 300 times the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency limit for drinking water and exceeded Ohio regulations,’ Mr. Stolz said. ‘I was concerned to see that the product purchased at the hardware store had total radium (226 and 228 combined) levels of 2,500 picocuries per liter, 500 times the U.S. EPA limit. It’s yet another reason for not using brine for road treatment, de-icing, and dust control.’”


We can eat it:

June 24, 2018 – Radioactive water reignites concerns over fracking for gas

“High levels of a radioactive material and other contaminants have been found in water from a West Australian fracking site but operators say it could be diluted and fed to beef cattle.”


We can eat more of it, and drink it too:

December 8, 2018 – “A push to make fracking waste water usable in agriculture — and even for drinking

… Aubrey Dunn, New Mexico’s outgoing land commissioner, said the state isn’t doing enough to incentivize treatment instead of injection. He supports state tax breaks for companies that treat the waste water so it can be used for agriculture or drinking.

… A 2015 study lead by a Duke University professor found that even treated waste water from the oil and gas industry had up to 50 times the amount of ammonium allowed by the EPA.”


We can deliver it to unsuspecting citizens, to replace their industry-contaminated water supply:

December 4, 2014 – “The Nightmare of Ann Craft: Fracked, then Poisoned – Albertan says drilling buckled her property. Then the real misery started.

… For two years now Craft has been involved in a fight with the Alberta government over the structural damage to her property along with the appearance of strange substances on her land and dug-out along with changes to her well water due to oil and gas activity.

In addition, a private water hauler delivered a batch of toxic water to her cistern instead of potable water. Craft then bathed in it.”


And we can dump it in our rivers and streams:

October 18, 2018 – “EPA weighs allowing oil companies to pump wastewater into rivers, streams

For almost as long as there have been oil wells in Texas, drillers have pumped the vast quantities of brackish wastewater that surfaces with the oil into underground wells thousands of feet beneath the Earth’s surface.

But with concern growing that the underlying geology in the Permian Basin and other shale plays are reaching capacity for disposal wells, the Trump administration is examining whether to adjust decades-old federal clean water regulations to allow drillers to discharge wastewater directly into rivers and streams from which communities draw their water supplies.”


So, lots of solutions. Clearly, the world is industry’s oyster … and “mussel.”

October 22, 2018 – “Fracking wastewater accumulation found in freshwater mussels’ shells

Elevated concentrations of strontium, an element associated with oil and gas wastewaters, have accumulated in the shells of freshwater mussels downstream from fracking wastewater disposal sites, according to researchers from Penn State and Union College.

‘Freshwater mussels filter water and when they grow a hard shell, the shell material records some of the water quality with time,’ said Nathaniel Warner, assistant professor of environmental engineering at Penn State. ‘Like tree rings, you can count back the seasons and the years in their shell and get a good idea of the quality and chemical composition of the water during specific periods of time.’

In 2011, it was discovered that despite treatment, water and sediment downstream from fracking wastewater disposal sites still contained fracking chemicals and had become radioactive. In turn, drinking water was contaminated and aquatic life, such as the freshwater mussel, was dying. In response, Pennsylvania requested that wastewater treatment plants not treat and release water from unconventional oil and gas drilling, such as the Marcellus shale. As a result, the industry turned to recycling most of its wastewater. However, researchers are still uncovering the long-lasting effects, especially during the three-year boom between 2008 and 2011, when more than 2.9 billion liters of wastewater were released into Pennsylvania’s waterways.

Freshwater pollution is a major concern for both ecological and human health,’ said David Gillikin, professor of geology at Union College and co-author on the study. ‘Developing ways to retroactively document this pollution is important to shed light on what’s happening in our streams.’

… What the team found was significantly elevated concentrations of strontium in the shells of the freshwater mussels collected downstream of the facility, whereas the shells collected upstream and from the Juniata and Delaware Rivers showed little variability and no trends over time.

Surprisingly, the amount of strontium found in the layers of shell created after 2011 did not show an immediate reduction in contaminants. Instead, the change appeared more gradually. This suggests that the sediment where freshwater mussels live may still contain higher concentrations of heavy metals and other chemicals used in unconventional drilling. ‘We know that Marcellus development has impacted sediments downstream for tens of kilometres,’ said Warner. ‘And it appears it still could be impacted for a long period of time. The short timeframe that we permitted the discharge of these wastes might leave a long legacy.’

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, up to 95 percent of new wells drilled today are hydraulically fractured, accounting for two-thirds of total U.S. marketed natural gas production and about half of U.S. crude oil production.

‘The wells are getting bigger, and they’re using more water, and they’re producing more wastewater, and that water has got to go somewhere,’ said Warner. ‘Making the proper choices about how to manage that water is going to be pretty vital.’”



Study of Oil and Gas Extraction Wastewater Management by US EPA (undated), accessed May 2, 2018
EPA is embarking on a new study that will take a holistic look at how the Agency, states and stakeholders regulate and manage wastewater from the oil and gas industry.

Large volumes of wastewater are generated in the oil and gas industry, and projections show that these volumes will only increase. Currently the majority of this wastewater is managed by disposing of it using a practice known as underground injection, where that water can no longer be accessed or used. The limits of injection are evident in some areas, and new approaches are becoming necessary. Some states and stakeholders are asking whether it makes sense to continue to waste this water, particularly in water scarce areas of the country, and what steps would be necessary to treat and renew it for other purposes.

The focus of the Agency’s study will be to engage with stakeholders [WARNING!  SYNERGY ALBERTA STRIKES AGAIN] to consider available approaches to manage wastewater from both conventional and unconventional oil and gas extraction at onshore facilities. EPA’s study will address questions such as how existing federal approaches to produced water management under the Clean Water Act can interact more effectively with [AKA, How better to deregulate to serve industry profits?] state regulations, requirements or policy needs, and whether potential federal regulations that may allow for broader discharge [AKA, Deregulate the better to poison us, our families, pets, livestock, lands, air and water without accountability?] of treated produced water to surface waters are supported. EPA is particularly interested in working with its regulatory partners at the state level, who are at the forefront of the changing industry, and often manage complex water allocation programs under state law.

EPA plans to reach out to stakeholders—including states, industry and NGOs [The most guilty partners in industry’s dereglating regulators and propagandizers, eg synergy] —to facilitate [AKA Con the public and harmed families into believing they are protected?] conversations. Following this study, EPA will determine if future Agency actions [more deregulation?] are appropriate to further address oil and gas extraction wastewater.

Related Effluent Guidelines:

Additional Information

For additional information about the study, please contact Jesse Pritts (email hidden; JavaScript is required) or 202-566-1038.


How does Encana deal with its drilling waste at Rosebud, Alberta where the company illegally frac’d the community’s drinking water aquifers?

Encana heavily dumps its waste on crop land.

See the regulator anywhere?

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

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