Oil & Gas Waste
What is leachate?
Unconventional natural gas development (fracking) produces vast amounts of waste. This waste comes in the form of brine and drill cuttings, both brought up from deep shale layers that can contain high amounts of uranium. Despite the potential presence of radioactivity, this waste is classified as residual waste and permitted to be disposed of in landfills that are intended for the collection of nonhazardous waste. Leachate is the result of rainwater and moisture seeping through waste at a landfill and leaching chemicals, organic matter, and other particles from the waste. The leachate is then classified as residual waste at the landfill and sewage treatment plants. But the leachate is not treated for potential radioactive materials, leaving concerns that discharged treated water could be polluting rivers and streams.
Watch the replay of the Press Conference Jan. 2021
In October 2020 Protect PT sent over 7,000 Every Door Direct Mailed surveys to residents surrounding the Westmoreland County Landfill. We wanted to find out from residents what impacts they have experienced living near the landfill. We are particularly concerned after hearing reports of air and water contamination paired with the undeniable fact that the Westmoreland Sanitary Landfill has been accepting oil and gas waste for the last 10 years. In an effort to mitigate the toxic leachate contaminated by oil and gas waste discharged into the Monongahela River, the PA DEP has foolishly recommended the landfill construct a leachate evaporator that would pump harmful emissions into the air, wrecking the air quality of the region.
The response to our survey has been overwhelming. The impacts residents reported go far beyond citations the landfill has so far received from the PA DEP. Residents reported sludge on the roadways discharging into streams and rivers and other nuisances. Additionally, several residents said they have changed daily routines to avoid further contamination. It is clear that residents have been deprived of their property rights and the enjoyments and use of their property.