Oil & Gas Waste
Why is Oil and Gas Waste a Big Issue?
Unconventional oil and 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 and injection wells. This waste is often transported by trucks or barged. Oil and gas waste creates serious health concerns for residents living near sites that accept this waste as well as potential contamination from spills and accidents during transportation.
What is leachate?
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. When landfills accept oil and gas waste, radioactive constituents can contaminate the leachate. However, the leachate is classified as residual waste at the landfill and sewage treatment plants. It is not treated for potential radioactive materials, leaving concerns that discharged treated water could be polluting rivers and streams.
Learn more about the hazards of leachate and how Protect PT is advocating for residents who have been impacted more than 10 years on our leachate page.
Stop the Plum Injection Well!
The fracking wastewater is transported in several ways, one of which is barging. The US Coast Guard has given approval for fracking waste to be transported along the Ohio, Monongahela and Allegheny Rivers. In previous years, the Coast Guard required the industry to report the chemicals transported to the Coast Guard, but they lifted that regulation in 2020 without public input. Barging this toxic waste raises a myriad of concerns, including spills and leaks. A single barge can hold up to 24,000 barrels of toxic waste (read more about this issue from Concerned Ohio River Residents).