Frack Wastewater – Let’s Dump It On The Roads!
According to The Ithaca Journal, several municipalities in New York have approved the use of fracking waste water in road maintenance. The flowback water from fracking contains salt, and is being called a “natural brine” to be used for winter snow and ice clearing, and dust management. However, this flowback waste fluid also contains toxic chemicals, heavy metals and radioactive materials. Toxics Targeting, an environmental monitoring firm in Ithaca, has released documents showing the permits for, and the rationalizing of, this dangerous process.
You can take a look at the original documents released by Toxic Targeting and an interactive map of the areas to be affected on their website.
The documents show that the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has approved the requests for multiple gas wells’ frack water to be used. According to the Ithaca Journal,
A.D. Call & Sons Excavating, of Stafford, N.Y., submitted a beneficial use determination application to the DEC for production brines from gas wells in Medina, Theresa and Queenston wells in February and March 2010. The DEC approved the request, with certain conditions, in April of the same year.
The conditions include requirements that the vehicles transporting or spraying the brine have the appropriate permits and spay bars must have shut-off mechanisms in the cabs of the trucks. Furthermore, the road spreading plans must be conducted in a manner that minimizes the chances of the brine running off into streams, creeks, lakes and other bodies of water. (my emphasis)
Isn’t this an admission that the brine run-off is NOT safe? Does anyone actually believe that this water won’t find its way into New York’s waterways, including drinking water systems?
Walter Hang, president of Toxics Targeting, relays the message that use of this water has not undergone any health risk assessment and is likely to be very unsafe.
The attitude is that it’s just salty water that comes up with the gas, but people are just going to be shocked that they were being exposed to the contaminated wastewater through DEC-sanctioned dumping programs without any comprehensive health assessment
It is not hard to imagine this wastewater flowing into aquifers and having serious health and environmental implications. Who comes up with these ideas?