Toxic Oil and Gas Wastewater Used to Treat Roads Contains Radium
Toxic Oil and Gas Wastewater Used to Treat Roads Way More Toxic Than Previously Thought – Spills Into Waterways
Particularly in post Free Trade America, municipalities are facing some tough choices when it comes to deicing and suppressing dust on their roads. This is because a number of states are using oil and gas wastewater for these purposes. However, this raises a number of concerns both for the environment and for human health.
A new study published in Environmental Science & Technology that analyzed regulations across the U.S. to determine whether or not such wastewaster can be used for road purposes found that 13 states permit its use while up to four other states may allow for the same under their “land spreading” regulations.
The fluid in question is that which is used in conventional oil and gas wells, not directionally drilled or hydraulically fracked wells.
At issue is the toxicity of the liquid with contains high concentrations of salt and potentially organic and radioactive materials. It also contains high amounts of calcium, magnesium, and strontium. Further contaminants include radium and other micropollutants. The liquid is known to stay on the road but, after subsequent rain, a portion of it runs off the highway into the earth or adjacent waterways.
“Oil and gas wastewaters are known to have high salt, organic and radioactivity concentrations,” said Travis L. Tasker, graduate student in environmental engineering, Penn State. “When we found out that this wastewater was being spread on roads, we wanted to evaluate its potential to cause biological toxicity and accumulate in road material or migrate into water resources.”