Toxic Floodwaters In Pennsylvania Raise New Questions About Fracking – Updated

UPDATE, September 23, 2011:

Since posting below, PA DEP officials have gone on record insisting that “no chemicals” used in hydraulic fracturing or toxic wastewater produced were spilled during the recent catastrophic flooding in Pennsylvania, which occurred as a result of back-to-back hurricanes Irene and Lee. State officials have also suggested that the photo linked in the initial post (below) is inauthentic. Okay. But the fact is, we have only their word for it. Scott Detrow reports in StateImpact that gas drillers weren’t required to report any incidents due to a “loophole” in state regulatory policy. I know, right? How dumb is that? And these are the guys who are going to protect The Delaware River Watershed, drinking water source for 15.6 million people.

We need to STOP and have a statewide referendum, I think. PA republicans have taken to pointing out how much gambling former Governor Rendell, a democrat, brought to the state. They assert that shale gas is way less seedy and far more profitable than Slots. Perhaps, but isn’t theirs a human health gamble?

Also, here’s a link to photos of more flooded wellsites in Bradford County, PA.


[Original Post]

Devastation and heartache. As the pictures emerge and personal accounts are posted I can’t believe what has happened, and how much has been lost. I visited this area of the state just few short weeks ago.

In the Huffington Post on Thursday, Michael Rubinkam and Michael Hill reported that Governor Corbett warned of “a public health emergency because sewage treatment plants are underwater and no longer working. Flood water is toxic and polluted. If you don’t have to be in it, keep out.”

Today, in TheTimes-Tribune, David Singleton reports that the situation is even more dire. Corbett officials issued a much sterner warning about the flood waters: “You could die,” said Corbett aide Bill Goldsworthy, the former mayor of West Pittston.

Flood waters are extremely dangerous, even when they aren’t toxic. The concern, however, is that the floodwater toxins in the Susquehanna River Basin are no mere pollutants, but heavily laced with insidious, unspecified industrial shale gas drilling chemicals and potentially radioactive waste bi-products. Not only have homes, roads and waste-water treatment plants been flooded and destroyed (many counties are now under mandatory boiling order), apparently so are frack wellpads and wastewater recycling facilities. To see Michael J. Mullens arresting aerial photos of the extent of this catastrophe, click here.

The Times Leader offers more information in Monday’s article, Flood Risks to Environment Detailed.

I’ll update this post with a link to help PA flood victims. Meanwhile, please consider donating to the American Red Cross.


Read more about precautions to take during clean up in Steve McConnell’s article in today’s  Times-Tribune, Food’s Toxic Threat Looms

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