Garrett County and Natural Gas - Risks and Benefits

A selection of categorized links to allow one to assess the risks and benefits of gas development in Garrett Conty.

Garrett County Montage


Radioactive materials encountered during the fracking process, generally part of the flowback

- 1017 - [January 15, 2015] - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Don Hopey - "High radiation not a byproduct of shale drilling, DEP finds"
"A multi-year study by the state Department of Environmental Protection has found there is a low risk of radiation exposure related to shale gas development.
The study also said “there are site-specific circumstances and situations where the use of personal protective equipment by workers or other controls should be evaluated.”
It recommended that radiological discharge limits be considered for waste treatment facilities handling drilling wastes, and the review of long-term waste disposal rules.
It said further study is needed to determine the environmental and health impacts of spreading salty drilling waste water, called “brine,” on roadways to suppress dust."
- 1209 - [NA] - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency - "Oil and Gas Production Wastes"
"The geologic formations that contain oil and gas deposits also contain naturally-occurring radionuclides, which are referred to as "NORM" (Naturally-Occurring Radioactive Materials)...
Much of the petroleum in the earth's crust was created at the site of ancients seas by the decay of sea life. As a result, petroleum deposits often occur in aquifers containing brine (salt water). Radionuclides, along with other minerals that are dissolved in the brine, precipitate (separate and settle) out forming various wastes at the surface..."
- 1292 - [February 7, 2015] - The Inrelligencer, Wheeling News-Register, CASEY JUNKINS - Staff Writer - "Radiation Concerns Coast Guard - Hazardous materials cited in fight over GreenHunter water"
"The Coast Guard's lead chemical engineer said radioactivity found in drilling or fracking waste from the Marcellus shale formation would disqualify it from being barged on the Ohio River as so-called oilfield waste, as GreenHunter Resources is hoping to do.
However, GreenHunter Chief Operating Officer Kirk Trosclair said Friday his company still believes it has the authority to transport the wastewater via river vessels, adding that he does not believe there is any proof the material his firm will ship has elevated levels of radium."
- 1375 - [February 16, 2015] -, Keith Matheny | Detroit Free Press - "Panel: Radioactive fracking waste-dumping is safe"
"Disposal of low-level radioactive fracking waste does not harm Michigan’s environment under current rules, a panel appointed by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder determined, and a Van Buren Township landfill could even handle higher radioactivity levels without risk.
A Free Press report last August highlighted Wayne Disposal’s plans to accept up to 36 tons of radioactive fracking sludge from a Pennsylvania oil and gas drilling company — after it had been turned away by landfills in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Wayne Disposal on its website advertises its ability as one of few landfills in the U.S. capable of accepting TENORM waste."
- 1410 - [NA] - eph | Environmental Health Perspectives Volume 122 | Issue 2 | February 2014, Valerie J. Brown - "Radionuclides in Fracking Wastewater: Managing a Toxic Blend"
"To date the drilling industry and regulators have considered the risk posed to workers and the public by radioactive waste to be minor. In Pennsylvania, Lisa Kasianowitz, an information specialist with the state Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP), says there is currently nothing to “indicate the public or workers face any health risk from exposure to radiation from these materials.” But given the wide gaps in the data, this is cold comfort to many in the public health community."
- 1418 - [March 3, 2015] - Radioactive Waste Management Associates, Melissa Belcher, M.S. and Marvin Resnikoff, Ph.D. - "Hydraulic Fracturing - Radiological Concerns for Ohio"
"It is a known fact that the Marcellus and Utica shale formations are radioactive, with concentrations of radium-226 that are up to 30 times background[1]. In the process of drilling and fracturing wells (fracking) in shale formations, to produce natural gas, this underground radioactivity is brought to the surface, but where does it go? Oil and gas companies, along with the State agencies they’ve bamboozled, would have you believe any radioactivity present in waste streams is either within regulatory limits, not within the jurisdiction of State governments to regulate, or non-existent."
- 1444 - [2014] - PowerSource, Anya Litvak / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - "Dilemma in the Marcellus Shale: How to dispose of radioactive oil and gas waste?"
"A few months ago, a Marcellus Shale operator approached Leong Ying, business development manager at the radiation measurement division of Thermo Fisher Scientific, with a problem.
The driller, whom Mr. Ying declined to name, was trying to dispose of oil and gas waste at area landfills but the trucks kept tripping radiation alarms.
Rejected trucks had to be sent back to well pads or taken out of state, both costly options. It was happening enough that it started nudging the company’s bottom line, Mr. Ying said.
“Once you hit them in the pocket, then they stand up and take notice,” he said.
Mr. Ying’s company is marketing a new radiation detector that can instantly categorize the different types of radioactive materials present in waste and their concentrations.
Today, the most likely solution to deal with radioactive oil and gas waste is to dilute it with non-radioactive materials, such as soil, and then send it to local landfills."
- 1446 - [NA] - Nuclear Information and Resource Service, Marvin Resnikoff, Radioactive Waste Management Associates - "Radon in Natural Gas from Marcellus Shale"
"A significant public health hazard associated with drilling for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale formation must be seriously investigated by t he New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). This hazard is f rom radioactive radon gas and the potential for large numbers of lung cancer among na ural gas customers. This issue, which has been ignored in the DEC’s Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, must be addressed in a revised Impact Statement and before DEC issues any drilling permits."
- 1447 - [January 10, 2012] - PRO Publica - Journalism in the Public Interest, Abrahm Lustgarten - "Is New York’s Marcellus Shale Too Hot to Handle?"
"As New York gears up for a massive expansion of gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale, state officials have made a potentially troubling discovery about the wastewater created by the process: It's radioactive. And they have yet to say how they'll deal with it.
The information comes from New York's Department of Environmental Conservation, which analyzed 13 samples of wastewater brought thousands of feet to the surface from drilling and found that they contain levels of radium-226, a derivative of uranium, as high as 267 times the limit safe for discharge into the environment and thousands of times the limit safe for people to drink."
- 1448 - [November 9, 2009] -, Sharon Kelly - "Radioactive Waste From the Marcellus Shale Continues to Draw Concern"
"Amid all the pushback to fracking, most of the attention has focused on what drillers put into the ground. The amount of water used. The chemicals that make up energy companies' secret mix. Whether these dangerous chemicals will contaminate our drinking water. But one of the biggest problems of fracking, indeed, the Achilles heel of this innovative drilling technique that is giving fossil fuels a second lease on life is the waste that comes out of the ground."
- 1449 - [June 3, 2013] -, Tara Kinsell | Observer-Reporter - "RADIOACTIVITY IN SHALE - NORM & TENORM"
"Radioactivity is a very important topic, on multiple levels, when considering all the environmental impacts of fracking for oil and natural gas. While most media attention is focused on the chemicals going downhole in the fracking process, it is just as important to realize that 'Mother Nature' sends her own group of toxics back out of these Marcellus Shale wells in the flowback right away, and the produced water over time."
- 1450 - [June 11, 2013] - Detroit Free Press, Keith Matheny, Detroit Free Press - "Panel: Radioactive fracking waste-dumping is safe"
"Disposal of low-level radioactive fracking waste does not harm Michigan's environment under current rules, a panel appointed by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder determined, and a Van Buren Township landfill could even handle higher radioactivity levels without risk.
Those are among the findings in a report issued Friday by a panel appointed by Snyder. The group of regulators, academics, environmentalists and representatives of the oil and gas, medical and landfill industries was convened after public outcry following Free Press reports last summer on the Wayne Disposal landfill importing radioactive fracking waste from other states."
- 1452 - [NA] - The Institute for Environmentla Research for NorthEastern Pennsylvania, Courtney Sperger, Kirstin Cook, Kenneth Klemow, Ph.D. - "Does Marcellus shale pose a radioactivity risk?"
"Radioactivity is a special kind of energy that is given off when unstable atoms release particles from their nucleus. Our natural surroundings, including the air, water, rocks, and even many foods contain various radioactive elements, producing a low level of background radioactivity. Our bodies can easily handle such low doses of radioactivity. However, exposure to levels of radioactivity much higher than background can harm our bodies, especially by causing cancer."
- 1735 - [April 22, 2015] - Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Pennsylvania Department of Environmenta Protection - "Technologically Enhanced Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials (TENORM) Study"
"On Jan. 15, 2015, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced the results of its TENORM Study, which analyzed the naturally occurring levels of radioactivity associated with oil and natural gas development in Pennsylvania. While the study outlines recommendations for further study, it concluded there is little potential for harm to workers or the public from radiation exposure due to oil and gas development. "