Monday, September 29, 2014

Treated wastewater from oil and gas operations can still produce dangerous toxins, study finds

A study by researchers at Stanford University and Duke University published in Environmental Science and Technology found that "treated wastewater from oil and gas operations, when discharged into rivers and streams that travel toward drinking water intakes, can produce dangerous toxins," Susan Phillips reports for StateImpact.

"The research confirms what scientists have been warning about for some time," Phillips writes. "The high concentrations of salty brine, which flows up from deep underground once a well is fracked, are difficult to remove from the wastewater without the aid of an expensive technique called reverse osmosis or a cheaper method known as thermal distillation. If the wastewater is treated conventionally, which does not remove the bromides, chlorides or iodides, then it can be combined with chlorine at a drinking water facility and create carcinogens such as bromines and iodines." (Stanford and Duke graphic)

The study, which used samples from sites in Pennsylvania and Arkansas, found "just .01 percent per volume of fracking wastewater, when combined with the disinfectant chlorine used by drinking water facilities, created trihalomethanes," Phillips writes. "The EPA limits the amount of these compounds in drinking water because of their link to kidney, liver and bladder cancer." (Read more)

No comments: