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Eldorado

Fracking wastewater adds strontium to mussels

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Eldorado

Elevated concentrations of strontium, an element associated with oil and gas wastewaters, have accumulated in the shells of freshwater mussels downstream from fracking wastewater disposal sites, according to researchers from Penn State and Union College.

"Freshwater mussels filter water and when they grow a hard shell, the shell material records some of the water quality with time," said Nathaniel Warner, assistant professor of environmental engineering at Penn State. "Like tree rings, you can count back the seasons and the years in their shell and get a good idea of the quality and chemical composition of the water during specific periods of time."

In 2011, it was discovered that despite treatment, water and sediment downstream from fracking wastewater disposal sites still contained fracking chemicals and had become radioactive. In turn, drinking water was contaminated and aquatic life, such as the freshwater mussel, was dying.

In response, Pennsylvania requested that wastewater treatment plants not treat and release water from unconventional oil and gas drilling, such as the Marcellus shale. As a result, the industry turned to recycling most of its wastewater. However, researchers are still uncovering the long-lasting effects, especially during the three-year boom between 2008 and 2011, when more than 2.9 billion liters of wastewater were released into Pennsylvania's waterways.

"Freshwater pollution is a major concern for both ecological and human health," said David Gillikin, professor of geology at Union College and co-author on the study. "Developing ways to retroactively document this pollution is important to shed light on what's happening in our streams."

Full article: https://phys.org/news/2018-10-fracking-wastewater-accumulation-freshwater-mussels.html

Edited by Eldorado
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Dark_Grey
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In 2011, it was discovered that despite treatment, water and sediment downstream from fracking wastewater disposal sites still contained fracking chemicals and had become radioactive. In turn, drinking water was contaminated and aquatic life, such as the freshwater mussel, was dying.

So...did anyone go to jail for this or is that a stupid question?

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and then

There's a huge, beautiful Bay near where I live.  It's right on the state line with Florida.  It's always empty... no swimmers or boaters, nothing.  There's a paper mill upstream that denied polluting it for years until the Feds got involved and proved the source of the pollution.  NOW the company says it will take years for remediation.  I understand that people need jobs but at what cost?

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The Caspian Hare
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it was discovered that despite treatment, water and sediment downstream from fracking wastewater disposal sites still contained fracking chemicals and had become radioactive.

Flaw in the treatment process, or is it fundamentally impossible to remove them effectively?

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seanjo
2 hours ago, Eldorado said:

Elevated concentrations of strontium, an element associated with oil and gas wastewaters, have accumulated in the shells of freshwater mussels downstream from fracking wastewater disposal sites, according to researchers from Penn State and Union College.

"Freshwater mussels filter water and when they grow a hard shell, the shell material records some of the water quality with time," said Nathaniel Warner, assistant professor of environmental engineering at Penn State. "Like tree rings, you can count back the seasons and the years in their shell and get a good idea of the quality and chemical composition of the water during specific periods of time."

In 2011, it was discovered that despite treatment, water and sediment downstream from fracking wastewater disposal sites still contained fracking chemicals and had become radioactive. In turn, drinking water was contaminated and aquatic life, such as the freshwater mussel, was dying.

In response, Pennsylvania requested that wastewater treatment plants not treat and release water from unconventional oil and gas drilling, such as the Marcellus shale. As a result, the industry turned to recycling most of its wastewater. However, researchers are still uncovering the long-lasting effects, especially during the three-year boom between 2008 and 2011, when more than 2.9 billion liters of wastewater were released into Pennsylvania's waterways.

"Freshwater pollution is a major concern for both ecological and human health," said David Gillikin, professor of geology at Union College and co-author on the study. "Developing ways to retroactively document this pollution is important to shed light on what's happening in our streams."

Full article: https://phys.org/news/2018-10-fracking-wastewater-accumulation-freshwater-mussels.html

So they fixed it, but they are still picking up stuff from before the fix...

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Dark_Grey
2 hours ago, The Caspian Hare said:

Flaw in the treatment process, or is it fundamentally impossible to remove them effectively?

I wondered that as well. It does say "despite treatment", implying they did attempt to clean the outgoing water. I guess the question now is, to what extent? I imagine there are industry standards and regular site visits from regulators? Hopefully there are.

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Doug1o29
3 hours ago, Dark_Grey said:

So...did anyone go to jail for this or is that a stupid question?

The laws regarding oil and gas wells vary quite a bit from state to state.  Generally, Ohio and Pennsylvania are lax compared to Oklahoma and Texas.  Best guess:  no.  Nobody went to jail.  Maybe, nobody even paid a fine.

Doug

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