In a study published last month in the Journal of Environmental Science and Technology, researchers from Duke University,, led by Professors Robert Jackson and Avner Vengosh, reported finding high levels of radioactivity, salts and metals in the water and sediments downstream from the Josephine Brine Treatment Facility, a fracking wastewater treatment plant on Blacklick Creek in western Pennsylvania.
The concentration of radium downstream from the plant was 200 times higher than upstream and is higher than many radioactive waste dumps.
Downstream, researchers also found high levels of chloride, sulfate and bromide. Levels of salinity in the plant’s discharge were up to 200 times higher than what is allowed under the Clean Water Act – and 10 times saltier than ocean water.
But fracking wastewater is exempt from the Clean Water Act.