by Kate Csehoski
Water is an important part of life whether you are drinking it, fishing in it, or even playing in it. Water treatment plants treat water from local sewage and/or landfill runoff before releasing it into local creeks and rivers. It is expected that the water from treatment plants is safe to go into the local creek, yet the water coming out of treatment plants poses several risks, depending on the source of the water.
Knowing where the water comes from when going to the treatment plant is important. Landfill leachate is water runoff from a landfill due to rain or liquids that have been put into the landfill. Rain water is easy for treatment plants to filter and clean but the leachate is more than just rain water, depending on what kind of waste the landfill takes in can affect the type of chemicals and hazardous materials in the leachate. This becomes a problem when the landfill takes in fracking waste. Fracking waste has been known to contain radioactive materials as well as “As (arsenic), Se (selenium), Fe (Iron) and Sr (Strontium)” (Chen, Season S., et al). Water treatment plants are not always equipped to handle chemicals like these or take radiation out of the water.
Water treatment plants have also directly accepted water waste from fracking sites which contain high levels of salts. If there is not enough sewage waste or other non salty waste, then the high levels of salts cause the bacteria and other cleaning organisms to die which leaves the water untreated and it goes into the creek. Fracking waste causes problems with the rate of clean water coming out of treatment plants. This then causes problems when taking water out of the creek for drinking and poses risks to the ecosystem that uses the creek like fish and people who use the creek for recreational activities.
Download a digital copy of our poster (below) that gives a visual representation of the path of landfill waste to our creeks or email email@example.com to request a printed copy. If you would like to donate to support continued research, monitoring and advocacy, visit our membership page protectpt.org/membership.