The FreshWater Accountability Project Ohio (www.FWAPOH.com) today released a report on the presence and dangers of radiation present throughout the horizontal hydraulic fracturing (fracking) industry that is extracting minerals in Ohio. The report, authored by Dr. Marvin Resnikoff, a longtime expert on radioactive waste management and since 1992, on radiation hazards from oil and gas drilling, details the serious problem associated with bringing up long-buried radium and other naturally-occurring hazards from thousands of feet underground. The radiation is associated directly with the “hottest” areas of gas and oil productivity in deep shale layers and is an inevitable and burgeoning waste problem.
Resnikoff points out that much of the highly-radioactive solids such as rocks and soils pulled up during drilling, and contaminated muds and sands are cheaply disposed of in municipal landfills in Ohio, irrespective of actual radioactivity content, for 1/100th of the cost of disposal of comparable low-level radioactive waste from nuclear weapons and nuclear power generation in the nation’s three facilities for that purpose. In Ohio, he stated, “It is evident that environmental concerns are trumped by the economics beneficial to the unconventional shale drilling industry.” Similarly, Dr. Resnikoff identified evidence that the Patriot water treatment facility in Warren, Ohio, which delivers pretreated water to the Warren public water treatment plant, is likely sending radium-laden water into the Mahoning River watershed. “On a daily basis, Patriot does not test for gamma emitting radionuclides and for radium-226,” he observed.
The expert also performed calculations showing that transport of radioactive liquid waste by tank truck greatly exceed federal thresholds which require specific tank design, minimum insurance under federal regulations of $5 million per shipment, and signage to be prominently located which identify the load as radioactive material. The report notes that all three sets of federal regulations are being routinely violated which means State of Ohio regulations are clearly inadequate for this hazardous material, and possibly illegal.