Like neighboring Chemung County, NY, officials in Steuben County, NY are actively considering accepting Marcellus drill cuttings (leftover dirt and rock from drilling gas wells) in the county landfill. Drillers over the border in Pennsylvania are looking for a location to dump the cuttings. The debate over whether to accept drill cuttings always centers on whether there is radioactivity in the cuttings and if it will become a problem down the road when liquids leach from the landfill into groundwater supplies. Chemung County has done extensive research and finds the radioactivity levels to be very low—and safe. Chemung County currently accepts drill cuttings, and now Steuben County is considering it too.
“Right now, we’re just talking about relatively small amounts we would bring in, if we brought it in. We want to be sure of ourselves though,” said Steuben County public works commissioner Vince Spagnoletti.*
As with Chemung County, economics is driving the decision for Steuben County as well:
Spagnoletti says bringing in around 10,000 tons per year of the drill cuttings could raise around $300,000 to the operational budget of the landfill.*
That’s a potential $300,000 that taxpayers would not have to pony up.
*YNN Your News Now (May 11) – Steuben County may allow Marcellus shale debris to be dumped in landfill