Perspective on Fracking Wastewater

I wanted to respond to your request for thoughts on the issue of fracking wastewater and wastewater treatment plants [Let’s Be Clear, “Figuring Fracking,” TPO, July 2013].

Our plant was approached some time back to accept fracking wastewater. We ultimately turned it away, and the last I heard the material was going into a deep injection well in Ohio. I can tell you that besides very high TDS from a variety of sources and a relatively high COD, I was shocked to see very significant amounts of radium 226 and 228, uranium and strontium, and extremely high readings of gross alpha and beta radiation.

We are a secondary treatment plant with conventional mechanical aeration. I would not want to see this material in any plant with the capability to aerosolize those materials, making them available in the plant area to be inhaled or ingested. This would have been, in my opinion, an extremely hazardous situation, for workers and visitors alike.

Anyway, the radiological components are something that do not get much press, but I believe there are good reasons to be very concerned about them as far as safety and health are concerned, apart from any treatment concerns that fracking wastewater would pose to a conventional treatment plant.


Michael Gille
Laboratory Director
Atlantic County Utilities Authority
Egg Harbor Township, N.J.


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