Concerns about Radioactive Drill Cuttings in OH Landfill

A controversy is brewing in Stark County where a private landfill wants to build a 12-mile pipeline to carry landfill liquids (called leachate) to the Canton municipal sewage treatment plant for treatment and disposal into the Nimishillen Creek, which in turn runs into the Tuscarawas River. The “problem” is that the landfill accepts Utica Shale drill cuttings—leftover mud, rock and dirt from drilling operations.

One Stark County official, Councilwoman-at-large Mary Cirelli, is concerned the drill cuttings at the landfill will create leachate with high levels of radioactivity and if treated at the Canton sewage plant, it will contaminate the Tuscarawas River. Similar scenarios with concerns over radioactive drill cuttings has played out in Marcellus Shale locations as well (see this MDN story). Those locations, which now accept drill cuttings, have no reported instances of radioactive leachate.

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