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Radium 226 in Gas Drilling Waste: “This Substance May Harm You”

September 14, 2012

The Columbus-Dispatch (Ohio) has discovered what Pennsylvanians have known for three years, and put it in a recent headline: “Fracking brine: Gas-well waste full of radium.” Millions of gallons of PA gas well waste are trucked to Ohio to be re-injected down “disposal wells,” (you know, the kind that sometimes cause hundreds of earthquakes, including the 4.7 quake near Youngstown, Ohio), and the good people of Ohio are starting to get worried. They’re also worried about possible radioactivity in the Utica formation in their own state.

The main source of information for the Columbus-Dispatch article is that radical organization, the U.S. Geological Survey.

Radium 226 has a half-life of 1600 years. A U.S. government advisory about radium warns, “It is important you understand this information because this substance may harm you.” The online fact sheet, issued by the Agency for Toxic Substances Disease Registry (ATSDR), explains,

Radium is a radioactive substance formed from the breakdown of uranium and thorium. Exposure to high levels results in an increased risk of bone, liver, and breast cancer.

What the Columbus Dispatch doesn’t know is that the EPA has advised some Susquehanna County residents that they must not drink their water because it has uranium and thorium in it. I know this, and a lot more things I would rather not know, because of recent travels to and through Susquehanna County. As usual, litigation issues preclude me naming names.

Here’s what the Columbus Dispatch did say:

For its study, the Geological Survey examined 52 samples of Marcellus shale brine collected from wells in New York and Pennsylvania from 2009 through 2011.In 37 of the samples, radioactivity from radium-226 and radium-228 was at least 242 times higher than the drinking-water standard and at least 20 times higher than the industrial standard.

That included a sample collected Dec. 21, 2009, in Tioga County, Pa., that was 3,609 times higher than the drinking water standard and 300 times higher than the industrial.

Read more. Then come to Shale Gas Outrage in Philadelphia next Thursday, September 20th (main rally noon to 2; all details here) and the events on Friday, September 21st as well: the Sunrise Intervention, the Health Impacts Conference, and the mini-organizing conference.

If you can’t come, read every News Bulletin closely on the Shale Gas Outrage website, and subscribe to this blog. Then educate your legislators. Because you can be guaranteed they know nothing about radium 226, uranium and thorium, and other toxic substances in Marcellus Shale gas drilling brine. And our own government tells us, “It is important you understand this information because this substance may harm you.”

  1. September 14, 2012 8:39 am

    good to know– and thanks, for quoting that “radical group”, US Geological Survey !!

  2. September 15, 2012 9:46 am

    You do a wonderful job keep people informed. Sadly so many people in my area, refuse to beleive any of this. You see our local paper does not report anything negative about the drilling. I am in Carroll County, Ohio.

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