Moral Low Ground


Pennsylvania Allows Disposal of Toxic ‘Fracking’ Waste into Drinking Water Supply

Last month, we brought you the shocking story of how natural gas drilling  was poisoning our nation’s drinking water on a monumental scale. Now it has emerged that  state regulators in Pennsylvania are allowing millions of barrels of toxic, cancer-causing waste to be dumped directly into waterways that are the source of drinking water for millions of people.

Wastewater from the natural gas drilling method known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is only partially treated before being poured into streams, creeks and rivers. Pennsylvania is the only state that allows fracking waste to be disposed of in such a manner and there is great concern that the environment and people’s health are being adversely affected.

Fracking consists of injecting millions of gallons of high-pressure water, highly toxic chemicals and sand thousands of feet below the surface of the earth in order to break through layers of rock and release natural gas trapped inside. Gas rising to the surface also contains poisonous wastewater that is then sent to treatment plants where it is partially cleansed before being dumped into waterways. At least 3,600,000 barrels of waste were sent for processing and dumping in Pennsylvania between June 2009 and June 2010.

Fracking wastewater contains cancer-causing chemicals as well as barium, which causes high blood pressure, and radium, which is radioactive. Drinking water downstream from wastewater treatment plants also has very elevated levels of  carcinogenic chemicals known as trihalomethanes. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says that in addition to cancer, trihalomethanes can also cause liver, kidney and central nervous system problems if ingested over a long period of time.

Despite these alarming facts, the natural gas and water treatment industries maintain that the water is safe to drink.

“In some respects, it’s better than what’s already in the water,” asserted Al Lander, president of Tunnelton Liquids, a treatment plant that dumps wastewater into the Conemaugh River.

But the corporations that are fouling Pennsylvania’s waterways and poisoning its people are known liars. Over the last two years, Cabot Oil & Gas dumped over 44,000 barrels of toxic waste into a creek that provides drinking water to 17 municipalities and over 300,000 people, but the company lied to residents and told them no gas waste was being dumped.

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  1. FranziskaJanuary 4, 2011 at 12:25 amReply

    This is insane!!! Nevertheless switching to bottled water doesn’t really help the cause, because the plastic production is just as bad for the environment. The plastic trash is being dumped in our oceans or burnt and is poluting our water highly. Plus, plastic production uses 8% of the world’s oil production.
    It’s probably the best idea to get your tab water at home tested. Maybe this link can be helpful:

  2. NofrackingApril 3, 2011 at 5:24 amReply

    HELP! Pennsylvania Governor Corbett is unconscionable. The shale has been there for over 450 million years. But Corbett is promoting a frenzy of drilling BEFORE the EPA study on the effects of horizonal drilling on water is completed. (2012) Politicians are making decisions based on money – we need the science. The gas companies are harassing landowners to lease. Our own PA Department of Environmental Protection is not PROTECTING the environment, lax enforcement of already weak regulations is destroying our land, air and water. Moreover, 40% of our forests have been leased to the gas industry. Property values in drilling areas are plummeting, jobs are temporary, and Sunoco is planning to sell 65 thousand barrels of gas a day from western PA to Ontario Canada – hypocritical to think we will have dependence from foreign oil when the big business of gas/oil only look for profits. Abandoned wells across the country are releasing waste. WAKE UP AMERICA. You can’t drink money!

  3. GasbagsJuly 17, 2011 at 1:23 pmReply

    Pennsylvania takes NYS waste, so what does that tell you?

    Pennsylvania is the East Coast’s public toilet and dumping ground.

    What idiot would buy a home there now?

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