Brine Wastewater Spill in Marshall County, WV Investigated

Last Friday Noble Energy discovered a valve left open on a brine wastewater storage pond was allowing brine water to pour out—some 2,264 barrels (95,000 gallons) in Marshall County, WV. Brine “wastewater” is not fracking wastewater and does not contain fracking chemicals. It’s naturally-occurring water from deep below the surface that seeps out of drilled holes long after initial drilling is done. Brine contains a lot of minerals, and sometimes low amounts of radium—hence the anti-drillers mantra “it’s radioactive!”

When an accident like this happens, and when the water reaches a local tributary as it did with this incident by getting into the Big Wheeling Creek, it’s not nothing. It’s also not an ecological disaster. Fortunately, the spill was largely contained in sediment traps designed to do just what they did—stop most of the water from spreading. Here’s what we know so far about the accident:

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