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Study finds a "Legacy of Radioactivity" from Fracking in ND

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posted on May, 10 2016 @ 11:38 PM
Hey all, browsing around the interwebs and came across this little tidbit. Researchers from Duke University concluded wastewater spills in from oil and gas industries in North Dakota have caused massive contamination in rivers, streams, and in the soil from radioactive materials, heavy metals and corrosive salts.

From the source:

High levels of lead — the same heavy metal that infamously contaminated water in Flint, Michigan — as well as the radioactive element radium, were discovered near spill sites. One substance, selenium, was found in the state's waters at levels as high as 35 times the federal thresholds set to protect fish, mussels, and other wildlife, including those that people eat. The pollution was found on land as well as in water. The soils in locations where wastewater spilled were laced with significant levels of radium, and even higher levels of radium were discovered in the ground downstream from the spills' origin points, showing that radioactive materials were soaking into the ground and building up as spills flowed over the ground, the researchers said.

Researchers mapped out at least 3,900 spills in the last several years from the fracking industry. And apparently it is only going to get worse. Officials in the state recently relaxed their standards for the dumping. Allowing landfills in the state to accept drilling waste at higher levels than previous years.

The article then goes on to state that with this contamination, the stage is set for a wide scale disaster when flooding of the region occurs.
And it looks like big oil is making things difficult for people in affected areas to relocate.

n 2012, the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Hazard Mitigation Grant Program — a program designed to help people move away from areas subject to recurring floods — ran into a series of conflicts over oil and gas leases on properties that would otherwise be offered buy-outs. Some homeowners in Pennsylvania were denied the chance to participate in the program because of oil and gas leases or pipelines on their properties, as DeSmog previously reported.

I can't really say I'm all that surprised, when I really started to learn what fracking does to the ground and ecosystem, I couldn't believe humans could be so foolish.

Perhaps the most disturbing thing in this article to me is this

“Many smaller spills have also occurred on tribal lands,” Prof. Vengosh said, “and as far as we know, no one is monitoring them.”

For shame. . .

edit on 10-5-2016 by denybedoomed because: typo

posted on May, 11 2016 @ 12:01 AM

Some rivers and streams in North Dakota now carry levels of radioactive and toxic materials higher than federal drinking water standards as a result of wastewater spills, the scientists found after testing near spills

The study being referred to makes no mention of tested rivers and streams showing "levels of radioactive and toxic materials higher than federal drinking water standards" nor do such results appear in the study. It does reference other studies regarding OGW contamination of surface water, however none of those studies seem to show "levels of radioactive and toxic materials higher than federal drinking water standards" in rivers and streams.

While contamination is, of course, a matter of great concern, why do the authors of the article you linked consider fabrication to be a valid approach?

edit on 5/11/2016 by Phage because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 11 2016 @ 06:40 AM
a reply to: denybedoomed

For clarification purposes, I must say the following:

I believe that any activity which releases dangerous amounts of radioactive material from the ground, or toxic chemicals for that matter, should be shut down, it's operators fined so hard their children's children will be in debt for decades, and any attempt to continue the practice afterward should result in summary banishment from the planet.

Putting people's lives, and by extension the wildlife and livestock on which our species depends, in mortal jeopardy is irresponsible, and to do it for the sake of money is criminal.

Clarification ends.

All of that being said, those campaigning for a change of direction in energy policy (one which needs to happen, and happen yesterday) will do themselves no favours by fluffing their literature with unrealistic and sensational waffle. If the numbers DO represent a breakage of the Federal limits on these various forms of pollution, then to state as much is reasonable. If they do not, then to state such a thing is a lie, and lying does not aid ones cause.

Personally, I would be a happier individual if all land based fossil fuel mining was simply banned, all of it. No oil, no fracking, nothing. If the entire fossil economy ended, I would have a hell of a lot more hope for the future of the species. The planet will not die, no matter what we do or do not do to it. But our ability to live on it WILL be drastically effected unless we stop using processes and fuels which damage the environment we live in. I am no hippy, I just happen to want the world to be in a liveable state by the time my son reaches my age, by the time he has a child of his own perhaps.

But that is unlikely to come about, unless we can be honest about the facts of the situation, and this article is far from that.

posted on May, 11 2016 @ 09:02 AM
a reply to: Phage

You're right I got this bit from the study which I will link below, I should've linked it in the original post. Thanks for commenting, Phage.

Environmental Implications of Brine Spills. In addition
to elevated levels of salts, the Bakken brines contain elevated
levels of trace elements and other toxic contaminants such as
Ba (up to 9 mg/L), NH4 (2,500 mg/L), Pb (3480 μg/L), Tl
(231 μg/L), Cd (31 μg/L), Se (970 μg/L), Cu (365 μg/L), Ni
(833 μg/L), V (1020 μg/L), and Mn (16 mg/L). Spill waters
and surface waters impacted by spills identified in this study
were found to have trace metal concentrations often 1 to 2
orders of magnitude greater than average concentrations in
background surface waters (Table 2 and Figure 2). Additionally,
these levels exceeded national ecological and drinking
water regulations for multiple elements in some spill sites.

And here is a link to the study itself. It's pretty wordy for me, so maybe some other smarty pants here can help deciphering.


I don't have much experience writing any kind of substantial thread so forgive me. . .

posted on May, 11 2016 @ 09:03 AM
And the article I linked did state that they had not tested DRINKING WATER. Only ground water.

posted on May, 11 2016 @ 09:09 AM
a reply to: TrueBrit

Thanks for replying, yeah, it looks like they are sensationalizing with the title just a bit. My apologies for the misleading title, I pulled it from the source.

I'm with you on shutting down the fossil fuel mining. I was just telling someone the other day that no coastal state in the U.S. should have to rely on coal and oil to power cities. The ocean is a never ending engine! However, the bottom line is what's important. Can't make money off of a renewable resource like tides or wind power, at least not nearly as much as companies do from oil manufacturing.

Honestly man, I'm just waiting for the big ol' sun to knock it all out with a good CME. The human race would REALLY find out what they're all about then. . .

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