After reading this report, I want to point out that nobody at the federal level
(due to oil & gas exemptions)
regulates frack wastes for radiation!
http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/122-a50/ Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP) February 2014 issue has a report entitled….
“Radionuclides in Fracking Wastewater: Managing a Toxic Blend”
Below is not the whole EHP report but are some things I boldfaced for emphasis.
Waste Production and Storage
Dissolved compounds often precipitate out of the water, building up as radionuclide-rich “scale” inside pipes.”
“A small 2013 study of reserve pits in the Barnett Shale region of Texas suggested another consideration in assessing pit safety. Investigators measured radium—the radionuclide generally used as a proxy to judge whether NORM waste complies with regulatory guidelines for disposal—as well as seven other radionuclides not routinely tested for. Although individual radionuclides were within existing regulatory guidelines, total beta radiation in one sample was more than 8 times the regulatory limit. “Evaluating the single radionuclide radium as regulatory exposure guidelines indicate, rather than considering all radionuclides, may indeed underestimate the potential for radiation exposure to workers, the general public, and the environment,” the authors wrote.2“
“The study also demonstrated another potential impact of treated brine on water quality. Most produced water contains bromide, which can combine with naturally occurring organic matter and chlorine disinfectant to form drinking water contaminants called trihalomethanes. These compounds are associated with liver, kidney, and nervous system problems.13 The Duke researchers reported highly elevated concentrations of bromide over a mile downstream from the plant—a potential future burden for drinking water treatment facilities downstream.12“
“Class II injection wells place the wastewater below the rock strata containing usable groundwater. Conventional industry wisdom says this prevents migration of contaminants into shallower freshwater zones.7,15,16,17
But some believe this may be a flawed assumption. The reason fracking works to force gas out of the rock is also why some observers think injection wells could be unstable—the extreme pressure of injection can take nearly a year to dissipate, according to hydrologic consultant Tom Myers, who published a modeling study of fracking fluids’ underground behavior in 2012.18
Myers says the lingering higher-than-normal pressure could bring formation waters, along with fracking chemicals, closer to the surface far faster than would occur over natural geological time scales of thousands of years. This is particularly true if there are faults and/or abandoned wells within the fracking zone.”
“Another study has demonstrated the possibility that formation water can migrate into freshwater aquifers through naturally occurring pathways.19“
Beneficial Uses and Landfills
Fracking wastes may also be disposed of through “beneficial uses,” which can include applying produced water as a road de-icer or dust suppressant, using drilling cuttings in road maintenance, and spreading liquids or sludge on fields.12,20,21Pennsylvania allows fracking brine to be used for road dust and ice control under a state permit.22 While the permit sets allowable limits for numerous constituents, radioactivity is not included.23
“At the federal level, radioactive oil and gas waste is exempt from nearly all the regulatory processes the general public might expect would govern it.”
“We are troubled by people drinking water that [could potentially have] radium-226 in it,” says David Brown, a public health toxicologist with the Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project. “When somebody calls us and says ‘is it safe to drink our water,’ the answer is ‘I don’t know.’”
“Groundwater samples are being tested for radium-226, radium-228, and gross alpha and beta radiation. The overall (EPA water) study does not include radon.29
Both radon and radium emit alpha particles, which are most dangerous when inhaled or ingested. When inhaled, radon can cause lung cancer, and there is some evidence it may cause other cancers such as leukemia.30 Consuming radium in drinking water can cause lymphoma, bone cancer, and leukemias.31 Radium also emits gamma rays, which raise cancer risk throughout the body from external exposures. Radium-226 and radium-228 have half-lives of 1,600 years and 5.75 years, respectively. Radium is known to bioaccumulate in invertebrates, mollusks, and freshwater fish,12 where it can substitute for calcium in bones.”
“Research published in December 2013 suggests one potential new treatment for radioactivity in fracking waste.33 Vengosh and colleagues combined various proportions of flowback water with acid mine drainage (AMD) to test the possibility of using the latter as an alternative source of water for fracking. AMD—acidic leachate from mining sites and other disturbed areas—is an important water pollutant in some regions. Laboratory experiments showed that mixing flowback water with AMD caused much of the NORM in the flowback to precipitate out, leaving water with radium levels close to EPA drinking water standards.
The authors suggest the radioactive precipitate could be diluted with nonradioactive waste to levels appropriate for disposal in municipal landfills. If it can be brought to industrial scale, Vengosh says, this method could provide a beneficial use for AMD while reducing the need for freshwater in fracking operations and managing the inevitable radioactive waste.”
So what I am hearing is that fracking related waste water is radioactive and so is the mud but you can refrack with that waste water if you first mix it with acid mine drainage to pull out the NORM. That way you make good use out of acid mine drainage water to refrack with instead of using fresh water for fracking….
Well Lah Tee Dah ….forget about saving the water for the frackers, I’m more worried that we might have been mud farming all over Arlington? all these years….then eventually that will get into drinking water supplies?
That dirt blows (radioactive?) particulates in the air & into our lungs (and food chain?) from the hot Texas wind…