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Waste Barging

Why is Waste Barging such an issue?

Unconventional oil and gas waste contains several harmful and often radioactive constituents that can pollute waterways in cases of spills or leaks. While the industry touts this method of transportation as a way to reduce truck traffic, vehicle exhaust, road damage, etc. the transportation of this waste on rivers is poorly regulated and increases the risk of leaks or chemical spills right into major bodies of water. Many of these rivers are sources of drinking water. 

The potential for a spill is enormous, and the consequences could be catastrophic. A single barge can hold approximately 24,000 barrels of toxic, radioactive waste, and there is no limit to the number of toxic barges that could be traversing the Ohio River each day. (Read more on the blog by Concerned Ohio River Residents.)

Drill­ing and frack­ing waste­wa­ter con­tains salty brines, drill­ing and frack­ing chem­i­cals and nat­u­rally oc­cur­ring ra­dio­ac­tive ma­terial flushed from shale for­ma­tions thou­sands of feet un­der­ground. Ra­dium-226 and ra­dium-228, both found in brine waste, are known car­cin­o­gens and can cause bone, liver and breast can­cer in high con­cen­tra­tions, ac­cord­ing to the U.S. Centers for Dis­ease Con­trol and Preven­tion. The waste­wa­ter can also con­tain other ra­dio­ac­tive com­po­nents, in­clud­ing Po­tas­sium 40, Tho­rium 232, and Ura­nium 238. 

Groups from PA and OH have been working together to raise awareness and address the potential of barging fracking waste down the three rivers (the Monongahela, Allegheny and Ohio). Together, we submitted a petition with over 15,750 signatures to the United States Coast Guard asking them to deny any and all authorizations for barging fracking waste down the rivers. You can read the full petition linked on this page.

Read more about waste barging in an article published by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

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Waste Barging Petition

Want to get involved? Contact to find out how you can help.
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Watch Parts 1 and 2 of the Better Path Presents webinar on Waste Barging and What You can do

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