How this might come as a surprise is surprising. Let the fracking denials about “best practices” and the “toughest regulations in the world” begin. Oil or gas bearing shale can be highly radioactive.. That’s how it is identified on a Gamma Ray log. Running a bit thru the shale layer horizontally is tantamount to mining radium. Frack water leaches radiation from the formation. When frack waste is recirculated, its radioactivity doubles. So the fracking process is effectively producing, then concentrating radioactive material into even more radioactive material. At some point, that waste is too “hot” to recycle and has to be disposed of. Somewhere. Getting rid of such frack waste – millions of tons of drill cutting, billions of gallons of frack flowback, is like dealing another Chernobyl or Fukushima – every month.
Radioactive Shale Gas Contaminants Found at WastewaterDischarge Site
Oct 02, 2013
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DURHAM, N.C. — Elevated levels of radioactivity, salts and metals have been found in river water and sediments at a site where treated water from oil and gas operations is discharged into a western Pennsylvania creek.
“Radium levels were about 200 times greater in sediment samples collected where the Josephine Brine Treatment Facility discharges its treated wastewater into Blacklick Creek than in sediment samples collected just upstream of the plant,” said Avner Vengosh, professor of geochemistry and water quality at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment.
The new Duke study examined the quality of shale gas wastewater from hydraulic fracturing and the stream water above and below the disposal site. The study found that some of the discharged effluent is derived from the Marcellus shale gas flowback water, which is naturally high in salinity and radioactivity.
High concentrations of some salts and metals were also observed in the stream water. “The treatment removes a substantial portion of the radioactivity, but it does not remove many of the other salts, including bromide,” Vengosh said. “When the high-bromide effluents are discharged to the stream, it increases the concentrations of bromide above the original background levels. This is significant because bromide increases the risks for formation of highly toxic disinfection byproducts in drinking water treatment facilities that are located downstream.”