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Fracking Waste from the Marcellus Shale Trips Radioactivity Alarms

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News Inferno; August 23, 2013

In 2012, some 1,000 trucks that were transporting tons of fracking waste from the Marcellus Shale tipped radioactivity alarms.

About 15,769 tons of Marcellus Shale waste were stopped at a landfill in Pennsylvania after the waste material tripped radioactivity alarms at the gate, according to The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The trucks were not permitted to enter the landfill; hand-held wand detectors revealed radioactivity in the contents. About 622 tons were sent to three out-of-state landfills that were equipped to dispose of materials that are deemed hazardous and/or radioactive. The remainder was deemed safe for burial with other waste as long as the waste remains below the annual limit set by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

The increase in radioactivity of fracking waste is being seen at the same time that increased fracking is occurring at the Marcellus Shale. The radioactivity increases at the Shale have prompted DEP’s launch of a year-long study of radioactive Marcellus waste to gain some understanding of any risks tied to waste disposal, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. In response, the DEP’s bureau of waste management created a working group to develop protocols for tracking rejected loads, advise gas operators how to identify waste, develop landfill waste acceptance criteria, and describe the ways in which well sites and waste treatment plants handle residual waste.

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