Ohio Soil Recycling, LLC (OSR), a Columbus, Ohio based business that uses microbes, algae, and bacteria to remediate contaminated soil, will NOT be receiving shale gas solid waste as previously reported. Drill cuttings will instead be sent to Ohio landfills
As reported in The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio Soil Recycling was authorized by the Ohio EPA to receive solid waste drill cuttings at the Alum Creek Integrity Drive facility. This was to be an alternate method of disposing of shale gas development waste (fracking). Shale gas drill cuttings would be processed, to rid them of drilling lubricants and used to cap the old Franklin County landfill along Alum Creek.
Radioactive Waste Alert, a Columbus area citizen action group, has concerns about the health risks associated with the processing and re-use of this soil. The OSR facility is located along the banks of Alum Creek, one of the Columbus area water supplies. Shale rock contains radioactive metals, including Radium 228, and 226. Carolyn Harding, organizer of RadioactiveWasteAlert.org warns, "These radioactive elements are water soluble and could contaminate our water supply."
In a phone message with Harding, on February 14th, Chris Elliott, owner of OSR, stated that OSR had not received drill cuttings, other than the two trial loads that they used for testing, and would not be receiving drill cuttings in the near future. He stated that for now, "We are probably done with the shale stuff altogether."
Harding says that although this alleviates the immediate risk to the Alum creek, and communities downstream, "There is still much to be concerned about," when it comes to the disposal of shale gas drilling-related waste in the Columbus Area Watershed and throughout Ohio.
Drill cuttings, the rock and soil carried to the surface during the drilling process, are labeled as TENORM (technically enhanced naturally occurring radioactive material), in all states other than Ohio. The 2013 Ohio Budget Bill redefined these drill cuttings from TENORM to NORM (naturally occurring radioactive material), therefore permitting drill cuttings to be dumped in any of Ohio’s 39 licensed municipal solid waste landfills.
"Drill cuttings are currently being dumped cheaply and quickly next to our towns," Harding stated. "These landfills are not safe for low level radioactive waste."
Some fear Ohio has become the dumping ground for the gas and oil industry. Ohio currently injects liquid shale gas drilling (hydraulic fracturing) waste into its 139 active injection wells throughout the state. The Center for Health and Environmental Justice reported that Ohio injection wells accepted 581 million gallons of waste in 2012, much of this coming from Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
“Regulation is running way behind the development of this industry" Harding says. "We don't want Ohio to become a toxic radioactive waste dump for the Shale Gas Industry. We all saw what happened to Charleston, West Virginia. We must protect our water."
Kathy Askin, Communications - 412-414-6443 Kathy Askin
Carolyn Harding, Organizer - 614-893-6314 Carolyn Harding