Tackling a Serious Issue: Low Level Radioactivity in Drill Waste

There are a number of problems to be addressed and resolved when it comes to shale drilling–issues like truck traffic, noise, lights at night and yes, wastewater and drill cuttings (leftover rock and dirt from drilling). MDN has never shied away from discussing those issues–we need to discuss them openly and honestly for that’s the only way we solve them. Simply saying those issues are unsolvable and therefore drilling should never happen is an unreasonable and intellectually dishonest position, yet that’s what many anti-drillers do. Case in point: a single anti-driller’s objection to Washington County, OH company Envirotank Clean’s request to handle and blend semi-liquid drill cuttings that have low levels of naturally occurring radioactivity to make it safe for disposal at certified landfills ready to take it.

Envirotank wants a permit from the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources to begin accepting what is called TENORM, or technologically-enhanced naturally-occurring radioactive material. In a self-defeating argument a single, solitary anti-driller who will no doubt recruit more to her side, says any amount of radioactive material is unsafe. We hate to tell her, but she may want to stay away from the local hospital where there’s lots of radioactive material–material that often sets off radiation alarms at landfills. Should hospitals ban cancer treatments because it produces TENORM material? According to her logic, yes…

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