WV Residents Express Concerns over Drill Cuttings in Landfills

Drill cuttings (leftover rock and dirt from drilling wells) sometimes contains low levels of naturally occurring radiation–that’s a fact. The typical way of disposing drill cuttings is via landfill. Loads are tested for radiation to be sure it doesn’t exceed safe limits, but any time you use the “r” word folks understandably get a little bit antsy. Visions of nuclear waste dumps run through their heads. Recently a rash of media-manufactured stories have appeared that West Virginia has a “loophole” that allows dumping of “radioactive shale waste” in local landfills. That’s not happening, and as stated, when/if there’s radioactivity in the cuttings, it’s usually so low it’s below that of medical waste that goes to the landfill.

But the media has now done it’s job and people are in a dither about this issue. So it’s no surprise that in an area of WV where there is no shale drilling–the eastern panhandle–folks turned out in large numbers to express concern over drilling in general and landfilling of cuttings in particular that may (or may not) be happening in their area…

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