Tag Archive for 'wastewater'

As Fracking Booms, Growing Concerns About Wastewater

Photo retrieved from: www.e360.yale.edu

“In a study conducted last year, researchers from the environmental consulting firm, Downstream Strategies, attempted to trace fracking water — from water withdrawal to wastewater disposal — at several wells in the Marcellus Shale formation in West Virginia and Pennsylvania.

“We just couldn’t do it,” said Downstream Strategies staff scientist Meghan Betcher, citing a lack of good data and the wide range of disposal methods used by the industry. What the study did find was that gas companies use up to 4.3 million gallons of clean water to frack a single well in Pennsylvania, and that more than half of the wastewater is treated and discharged into surface waters such as rivers and streams.

Increasingly, the fracking boom in the Marcellus Shale and across the United States is leaving behind some big water worries — concerns that are only growing as shale gas development continues to expand. Pennsylvania, which has experienced a frenzied half-dozen years of hydraulic fracturing, is now the U.S.’s third-largest producer of natural gas. The Downstream Strategies report noted that from 2005 to 2012, Pennsylvania and West Virginia issued permits for nearly 9,000 natural gas wells that use hydraulic fracturing technology, which pumps a high-pressure mixture of water, chemicals, and sand deep into shale formations to extract natural gas.

The vast volume of water needed to extract that natural gas, and the large amounts of wastewater generated during the process, is causing increasing concern among geochemists, biologists, engineers, and toxicologists.”

Read more: Yale Environment 360

Pharmaceutical Waste Seeping into Environment

U.S. Geological Survey hydrologic technicians collect a stream sample from Hallocks Mill Brook downstream of the outfall of one of the wastewater treatment plants investigated. Credit: U.S. Geological Survey.

U.S. Geological Survey hydrologic technicians collect a stream sample from Hallocks Mill Brook downstream of the outfall of one of the wastewater treatment plants investigated. Credit: U.S. Geological Survey.

“Muscle relaxants, opioids, and other pharmaceuticals are leaking into the environment at two wastewater plants in New York, a new study has revealed.

“Water entering the streams from two wastewater treatment plants that are supposed to break down pharmaceutical manufacturing waste had concentrations of pharmaceuticals between 10 to 1,000 times higher than water released into the environment from 24 other plants across the nation that do not receive pharmaceutical waste, according to the study, which is detailed in the June 4 edition of the journal Environmental Science and Technology.

“I don’t think anyone ever thought we’d see these concentrations in streams,” said study author Patrick Phillips of the U.S. Geological Survey.

“The study is the first in the United States to assess the environmental impact of wastewater treatment plants that process waste from drug manufacturing facilities. Pharmaceuticals were found at drinking water reservoirs as far as 20 miles (30 kilometers) downstream of one of the treatment plants that receives at least 20 percent of its waste from pharmaceutical manufacturers.”

read more: LiveScience

Groups Call on EPA, New York & New Jersey to Reduce Sewage Pollution and Clean Up Waterways for Recreation

“Nearly every time it rains, New York City’s aging sewer system diverts raw, untreated sewage directly into local waters. This untreated wastewater and storm runoff contains dangerous bacteria, pathogens, heavy metals and toxic chemicals, making kayaking or swimming in city waters an unhealthy – and rather icky – activity.”

read more: NRDC

“Systematic failure” leads to fine for over 300 waste breaches

“Veolia Water Solutions and Technologies (VWS) has pleaded guilty to ten environmental breaches at Selby Magistrates’ Court. The breaches occurred in 2008 and 2009 and related to its running of a Waste Treatment Plant (WTP) in Tadcaster. The WTP served two breweries on different sites, with one run by Scottish and Newcastle Breweries and the other by Molson Coors Brewing Company.”

read more: WLN