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Gas-well waste full of radium via The Columbus Dispatch

Millions of barrels of wastewater trucked into Ohio from shale-gas wells in Pennsylvania might be highly radioactive, according to a government study.

Radium in one sample of Marcellus shale wastewater, also called brine, that Pennsylvania officials collected in 2009 was 3,609 times more radioactive than a federal safety limit for drinking water. It was 300 times higher than a Nuclear Regulatory Commission limit for industrial discharges to water.

The December 2011 study, compiled by the U.S. Geological Survey, also found that the median levels of radium in brine from Marcellus shale wells was more than three times higher than brine collected from conventional oil and gas wells.
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Required lab tests showed radium at levels 36 times higher than the state’s safety standard.Some critics say they worry that Ohio municipalities will spray shale brine on roadways in winter to combat ice. There are no restrictions against using shale-well brine on Ohio roadways.

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