‘Naturally Occurring’ Pollutants From Fracking Called ‘Serious Concern’ by Dan Heyman, December 20, 2013, Public News Service – AR
Many Arkansans are concerned about the fluids natural-gas drillers pump underground for hydraulic fracturing. But researchers say naturally occurring chemicals, some radioactive, coming out of the wells may be more of an issue. Avner Vengosh, a professor of geochemistry and water quality at Duke University, has studied the brine – salty water from rock layers such as the Fayette Shale in Arkansas that are fracked for natural gas. He says brine-containing things such as bromide and naturally radioactive radium could become a problem – even if people have focused on the artificial compounds that drillers put down the holes.
“But the natural occurring constituents are as problematic and sometimes even more – could be very harmful to the environment and human health, but are naturally occurring,” he explains. Vengosh says the oil and gas industries are exempted from the Clean Water Act, otherwise they’d have to clean up the brine before it gets into surface or groundwater. … He says bromide combines in a dangerous way with chlorine. “This combination can generate a very toxic organic compound, could be very toxic if consumed by the people that use the water from this utility,” he stresses. Vengosh adds natural radium in the brine puts out a low level of radioactivity. He says that might not be a concern, but he has found it can accumulate in the sediment at water treatment facilities. And he says it may also bio-accumulate – build up as organisms feed on each other, perhaps even fish that humans eat. [Emphasis added]
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NEWS ALERT Water supply for Hamlet of Rosebud Contaminated with Carcinogen Bromodichloromethane September 15, 2006
ROSEBUD: Last night representatives from Alberta Environment, Wheatland County and the Calgary Health Region issued a “water usage advisory” to the residents of Rosebud, located one hour east of Calgary. The advisory warns residents to use bottled or filtered water due to the presence of a carcinogen in their local water supply: bromodichloromethane. Bromodichloromethane is toxic compound formed as a byproduct of adding chlorine to drinking water. According the US Environmental Protection Agency it is also a common byproduct of coal bed methane production: (See p. Oil and Gas Extraction, Sector Notebook Project, EPA/310-R-99-006) In the last two years EnCana has repeatedly drilled and “stimulated” shallow wells with chemicals around the hamlet for coal bed methane. Several residents outside of the hamlet have lost their safe water after extensive CBM drilling and fracing. Alberta Environment is conducting an ongoing investigation. Just last month Wheatland County and Alberta Environment said the hamlet’s water supply “complied with provincial standards.”
Toxic Wastewater Dumped in Streets and Rivers at Night: Gas Profiteers Getting Away With Shocking Environmental Crimes, Allan Shipman was found guilty of illegally dumping millions of gallons of natural gas drilling wastewater. But he’s part of a much bigger problem