Hydraulic Fracturing Radiological
Concerns for Ohio
Melissa Belcher, M.S. and Marvin
Radiation Expert Exposes Danger to Ohio from
Better public protection needed from State and
Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District
Accountability Project Ohio released a report
June 13, 2013 on the presence and dangers of radiation
present throughout the horizontal hydraulic fracturing (fracking)
industry that is extracting minerals in Ohio.
The report, authored by Dr. Marvin Resnikoff, an
expert on radioactive waste management and since 1992, on radiation
hazards from oil and gas drilling, details the serious problem
associated with bringing up long-buried radium and other
naturally-occurring hazards from thousands of feet underground.
The radiation is associated directly with the
"hottest" areas of gas and oil productivity in deep shale layers and
is an inevitable and burgeoning waste problem.
Resnikoff points out that much of the
highly-radioactive solids such as rocks and soils pulled up during
drilling, and contaminated muds and sands are cheaply disposed of in
municipal landfills in Ohio, irrespective of actual radioactivity
content, for 1/100th of the cost of disposal of comparable low-level
radioactive waste from nuclear weapons and nuclear power generation
in the nation's three facilities for that purpose.
In Ohio, he stated, "It is evident that
environmental concerns are trumped by the economics beneficial to
the unconventional shale drilling industry."
Similarly, Dr. Resnikoff identified evidence that
the Patriot water treatment facility in Warren, Ohio, which delivers
pretreated water to the Warren public water treatment plant, is
likely sending radium-laden water into the Mahoning River watershed.
"On a daily basis, Patriot does not test for
gamma emitting radionuclides and for radium-226," he observed.
The expert also performed calculations showing
that transport of radioactive liquid waste by tank truck greatly
exceed federal thresholds which require specific tank design,
minimum insurance under federal regulations of $5 million per
shipment, and signage to be prominently located which identify the
load as radioactive material.
The report notes that all three sets of federal
regulations are being routinely violated which means State of Ohio
regulations are clearly inadequate for this hazardous material, and
"Dr. Resnikoff's work illustrates that Ohioans,
from common citizens to truck drivers to landfill workers, are daily
being exposed to radiation exposure or poisoning because the
Governor, General Assembly and even a large conservancy district,
the MWCD, are sacrificing public protections to prop up frackers'
profitability," asserted Terry Lodge, attorney for SEOSOW.
"Under the guise of 'austerity,' the state
government is destroying protective regulations for everyone, while
creating a business environment where those who threaten public
health and the environment pay little to nothing.
And even huge corporate welfare breaks aren't
saving this dirty, low-productivity con game."
Lea Harper, spokesperson for SOASOW and founder
of FWAPOH, which commissioned the report, insisted that science will
prevail over politics, and that the facts will ultimately halt the
current Ohio fracking frenzy.
“With these serious issues facing Ohio, all waste
disposal should be stopped for the legislature to hold hearings on a
bill dealing exlusively with this issue and not allow it to remain
buried in a 4000 page budget bill.
Someday, there will be a look back to this point,
and people will wonder how fracking could be allowed at such a scale
without adequate regulation or public protections in place,” stated
“When that happens, there will probably be
The unfortunate outcome of all of this is once
the damage is done, it’s too late.
We want the truth and the true costs to be faced
today - before any further fracking, waste transportation or
disposal takes place.”
Radiological Concerns for Ohio is available here
Contact: Lea Harper, Southeast Ohio
Alliance to Save Our Water (419) 450-7042
Marvin Resnikoff, Ph.D. Radioactive Waste Management Associates,
Terry Lodge, Esq., Attorney-At-Law, (419) 205-7084