Pennsylvania oil and natural-gas industry groups announce radioactivity study to parallel DEP effort

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The Marcellus Shale Coalition and the Pennsylvania Independent Oil & Gas Association announced they plan to launch their own study of radioactive materials in the oil and gas extraction process.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection began a similar study in January, surveying more than 100 sites in that time to test for radioactivity in drill cuttings, wastewater and equipment.

The industry organizations asked their members to participate by taking samples at their sites and sending them to certain labs. Coalition spokesman Patrick Creighton said both organizations have retained experts that will analyze the results.

He said the industry study is meant to be a complement to the DEP effort.

“(It) will give us more data points and therefore more confidence in the results,” he said.

The Marcellus Shale contains naturally occurring radioactive elements which are brought to the surface during drilling, fracking, and production.

In 2012, 15,769 tons of oil and gas waste tripped radioactivity alarms at state landfills. Of that, 622 tons were deemed so "hot" that they were shipped out of state to specialized facilities.

Anya Litvak: or 412-263-1455.

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