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Ashotep

Fracking debris considered too radioactive

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Posted (edited)

A truck carrying drill cuttings from a fracking site set off a radiation alarm at a landfill in Pennsylvania. Emitting gamma radiation ten times higher than the permitted level, the waste was rejected by the landfill.

After the alarm went off, the MAX Environmental Technologies truck was immediately quarantined and sent back to the Marcellus Shale fracking site it had come from in Greene County, Va. The 159-acre Pennsylvania landfill site accepts residual and hazardous waste, but the cuttings were too radioactive for the site to safely dispose.

Fracking debris considered too radioactive even for waste site

Of course fracking is safe, not.

Edited by Hilander
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well, yes, see natural uranium can be found in many places... even in fracking pits. That is much less the point... more is: What kind of geologists are working for them if they could not foresee that?

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From article:

Pennsylvania, which is currently studying radiation contamination associated with fracking wells, claims to be the only state that even requires landfills to monitor radiation levels.

Very unsettling!!

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Lovely news. This should speed up the destruction of the earth a bit.

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Karen Silkwood comes to mind.

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Of course fracking is safe, not.

Just what could have been in there? The only thing I can think of is that the drilling company lost its gamma-emitter down the hole and it was brought up by the fracking company. If that's what happened, it's the drillers, not the frackers, who screwed up.

Ordinarily, if you lost the emitter and couldn't recover it, you would put in a concrete plug and re-drill part of the hole. The emitter, though radioactive, would stay in the sealed-off part of the hole where it would be harmless. But we might be talking about a million to two million dollars to do that.

Sounds like a drilling company is trying to pull a fast one.

Doug

P.S.: Gamma-ray devices are sensitive to the amount of water in the surrounding rock. You can use them to tell how porous the rock is and thereby, what formation you're drilling in.

Doug

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Just what could have been in there? The only thing I can think of is that the drilling company lost its gamma-emitter down the hole and it was brought up by the fracking company. If that's what happened, it's the drillers, not the frackers, who screwed up.

Ordinarily, if you lost the emitter and couldn't recover it, you would put in a concrete plug and re-drill part of the hole. The emitter, though radioactive, would stay in the sealed-off part of the hole where it would be harmless. But we might be talking about a million to two million dollars to do that.

Sounds like a drilling company is trying to pull a fast one.

Doug

P.S.: Gamma-ray devices are sensitive to the amount of water in the surrounding rock. You can use them to tell how porous the rock is and thereby, what formation you're drilling in.

Doug

The emitter itself, while radioactive, is certainly not enough to drive the measuring equipment at a dump crazy buried under a whole truckload of dirt. It must have either been on the top of the load or it must have been there long enough to make part of the surrounding soil radiate... else it would have been a very mute signal not easily distinguishable from the radioactive surrounding noise.

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From article:

Very unsettling!!

Yes it is, you would think they would all have to do it if radiation is such a problem. I'll never live near one of these places.

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Yes it is, you would think they would all have to do it if radiation is such a problem. I'll never live near one of these places.

Radiation is not such a problem because believe it or not a few parts per million of everything you touch, breathe or eat is radioactive. And having Americium smoke detectors or other gamma sources does not change a lot about that. What does is when somebody is trying to take a shortcut while handling radioactive materials unwittingly or on purpose.

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Posted (edited)

The emitter itself, while radioactive, is certainly not enough to drive the measuring equipment at a dump crazy buried under a whole truckload of dirt. It must have either been on the top of the load or it must have been there long enough to make part of the surrounding soil radiate... else it would have been a very mute signal not easily distinguishable from the radioactive surrounding noise.

So we're back to the original question: what was in that load? Fracking debris isn't radioactive, any more than the background rock is. So what was the contaminant? This is something EPA needs to take a look at.

Doug

P.S.: Most scrap iron is radioactive. The offending material is cobalt. Speculation is that a hospital scrapped some radiation-therapy equipment and that got mixed into the scrap iron. At any rate, very old scrap, like from a sunken ship, is in high demand for measuring devices and such that can't be radioactive.

Look out for that new car you just bought: it was made with radioactive iron.

Doug

Edited by Doug1o29

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It has been common practice in many areas for drillers to "spread" the produced water onto agricultural land which some vague claim that it has fertilizing properties.

Br Cornelius

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It has been common practice in many areas for drillers to "spread" the produced water onto agricultural land which some vague claim that it has fertilizing properties.

Br Cornelius

Most water recovered from deep underground is salty. Don't imagine it would be something you'd want to put on your fields.

Doug

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Just what could have been in there? The only thing I can think of is that the drilling company lost its gamma-emitter down the hole and it was brought up by the fracking company. If that's what happened, it's the drillers, not the frackers, who screwed up.

Ordinarily, if you lost the emitter and couldn't recover it, you would put in a concrete plug and re-drill part of the hole. The emitter, though radioactive, would stay in the sealed-off part of the hole where it would be harmless. But we might be talking about a million to two million dollars to do that.

Sounds like a drilling company is trying to pull a fast one.

Doug

P.S.: Gamma-ray devices are sensitive to the amount of water in the surrounding rock. You can use them to tell how porous the rock is and thereby, what formation you're drilling in.

Doug

They should just dump it on the company's owners front yards. After all they claim that it is 'safe'. Wonder when these companies will come to their senses that despite all the profits they make not being able to live on the planet is not worth it.

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Lovely news. This should speed up the destruction of the earth a bit.

Uh, you realize that whatever made the debris radioactive was already in the Earth, right?

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Most water recovered from deep underground is salty. Don't imagine it would be something you'd want to put on your fields.

Doug

There is a scientist (ex-oil industry) from Canada who had her area fracked and witnessed exactly the practice of land spreading of produced water in her back yard. It happens. Then there are the widely recorded incidences of fracking wastes been dumped into creeks and rivers.

Br Cornelius

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Uh, you realize that whatever made the debris radioactive was already in the Earth, right?

My comment is directed at fracking in general. KK. I think thats simple enough.

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There is a scientist (ex-oil industry) from Canada who had her area fracked and witnessed exactly the practice of land spreading of produced water in her back yard. It happens. Then there are the widely recorded incidences of fracking wastes been dumped into creeks and rivers.

Br Cornelius

Ohio and Pennsylvania have been beset with drilling (and fracking?) problems of late. It's partly the geology, which has a lot of contorted strata and unknown faults that create problems, but it's also the laws. Most companies just tell their Ohio/Pennsylvania operations to employee the same methods used in Oklahoma and Texas (which have good reclamation and resource-protection laws). But a few don't. Those few give everybody a bad name.

But the other side of the coin is: people in those states, by not passing and enforcing strict regulation, have told the oil companies they don't mind what they're doing.

I saw an example of salt-water contamination on my trip to Shreveport in March. In the particular instance, it resulted from the collapse of a containment wall. It was on Federal land, so the govt came down hard on them and made them clean up the mess. Doesn't take too many expansive cleanups before they figure out that prevention is cheaper.

I think I know of a case where salt water was drained into a creek. It was in Ohio. Nuf said.

Doug

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Posted (edited)

Uh, you realize that whatever made the debris radioactive was already in the Earth, right?

There are some radio-active materials used in drilling operations. Gamma ray sources are lowered into the well and the neutron flux measured. That is affected by the porosity of the rock, so they know what formation they're in. I'm not sure, but there might be other sources of radioactivity used in drilling. I suspect that something, most likely a gamma ray source used in measurement while drilling operations somehow got mixed into the fracking waste. We need more information if we're ever going to figure out what happened and who's at fault.

Just so we're all on the same page here:

First, the oil company buys a lease. It has so many days to drill the well and start producing from it or the lease automatically expires.

Second, the oil company hires a drilling company to drill the well. When done, the drilling company pulls out its gear and leaves. Extra drilling mud is just left in the well for the frackers to deal with. Contracts require the drill site to be vacated within 24 hours after a well is TD'd (Is declared to have reached Total Depth.), so the drillers and frackers don't even see each other.

Third, a fracking company moves in, cleans up the well, and injects the producing formation with fluids to open the pores in the rock and keep them open (The injection part of the process could set off a small earthquake if the well has intersected a fault that is ready to slip.). Explosives used to be used in this process, but after too many shattered well casings that destroyed the well, they were abandoned. The fracking fluids are mostly water and sand, but each fracking company claims to have the best fluids on the market, so they have to add something to convince the oil companies they're the best. The exact mix is an industrial secret - if you tell people what you're using, they might decide you don't know what you're doing. One company had that problem when the oil company found out their "secret ingredient" was shredded cedar bark. The "fracking chemicals" that the public is complaining about sound like spent drilling mud to me. Some of that stuff - especially oil-based mud - can be pretty nasty stuff. Drilling crews hate it.

Fourth, a construction crew moves in and assembles storage tanks, pumps, pipelines and so on.

Seven or eight different companies may be involved in drilling a single well, several at the same time. That makes it difficult to know who did what without a program.

Oil companies want to take care of their landowners as well as possible. The leases are just a few months to a year long and if the owner doesn't renew your lease, you may have just paid for somebody else's well. Things that damage the lessor's property are frowned upon and can be a VERY expensive mistake if you have twelve to fifteen million dollars invested in a well.

Doug

Edited by Doug1o29

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There are some radio-active materials used in drilling operations.

I checked this out with an operations geologist - somebody who "steers" oil wells, telling the driller what spot underground he has to hit.

NO RADIOACTIVE MATERIALS ARE USED IN OIL PRODUCTION. The "gamma source" I talked about only detects natural radioactivity. It is a monitoring system and is not, itself, radioactive. Sorry about the mistake.

Now that leaves the question: how did a radioactive object get into fracking debris? That same operations geologist told me about a well site across the road from a "landfill." The drilling company checked with the landfill owner who said that nothing had ever been disposed of on the drilling site. They hit a trash layer the first day. For the next forty days, about once a day, they got a massive, stinking discharge from the old landfill. Of course, the "oil company" got the blame.

Could there have been something buried at the drilling site? Or, might this be a case of "environmental sabotage?" Again, we need more information.

Doug

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