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Bromide: A concern in drilling wastewater

March 17, 2011

Public water suppliers are saying that salty bromides are a big worry.  They are the ones who should be listened to when it comes to knowing when the supplies are exceeding federal standards.   According to a new report from the Pittsburgh Post Gazette many of Western Pennsylvania’s waterways already exceed the standards and many others are at risk.

“Bromide facilitates formation of brominated trihalomethanes, also known as THMs, when it is exposed to disinfectant processes in water treatment plants. THMs are volatile organic liquid compounds.  Studies show a link between ingestion of and exposure to THMs and several types of cancer and birth defects.”

Stanley States, water quality manager at the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority says “the elevated bromide levels in the river could be coming from municipal sewage treatment plants and brine treatment plants handling Marcellus Shale drilling and hydrofracking wastewater.  Something’s changed and it could possibly be related to the treating of Marcellus Shale drilling wastewater.”

“The Josephine brine treatment facility, also known as Franklin Brine, on Blacklick Creek in the Allegheny’s watershed, discharges an average of 120,000 gallons a day of Marcellus wastewater that, at peak levels, contains high concentrations of bromide, chlorides and total dissolved solids, according to sampling done by the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Healthy Environments and Communities.  ‘There’s pretty high bromide going into the creek. Certainly it is a public health threat,”‘said Conrad Dan Volz, director of the Center for Healthy Environments and Communities. ‘And to remove brominated THMs, that’s going to break the bank for public water systems’.”

  1. Doreen Moore permalink
    March 21, 2011 9:32 pm

    All of these articles about elevated levels of chemicals in the water where the gas drilling has happened just makes me furious. How many more places need to be polluted and ruined before a halt is put on all of this. Clearly we need to develop another way to extract the gas without poisoning future generations to come with our ignorance and neglect. Once it is done, it is irreversible.


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