PA DEP Nixes Plan to Use Drilling Cuttings for Tioga Airport Runway

drill cuttings
Drill cuttings seen through a microscope

Clean Earth Inc., the biggest company along the East Coast that decontaminates contaminated soil (some 3 million tons a year) partnered with the Wellsboro-Johnston Airport in Tioga County, Pennsylvania to provide 400,000 tons of treated and safe drill cuttings to extend a runway at the airport. At least, that was the plan. But that plan has now been axed by the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection which says, after conducting survey after survey, including public hearings, that they don’t have enough enough information, that Clean Earth’s application is “incomplete” and that Clean Earth has “withdrawn” the application (i.e. told to withdraw it or else). What’s next? If you dig more than 10 feet down, you won’t be allowed to use the rock and dirt you dig for building purposes? That’s about what has happened in this situation. Folks, this is rock and dirt. A drill bit, with a bit of non-toxic drilling mud to lubricate the bit, eats away at rock and dirt. The rock and dirt coming out of the hole is what is called drill cuttings. The cuttings are always tested to be sure there’s no radioactivity in the rock and dirt. The drill cuttings are then combined with Portland cement and there is nothing, no way, anything can “leak” out of it, including glow-in-the-dark radiation. And yet people are willing to believe any fairy tale horror story. Folks near the airport rose up in fear that the dirt used for the runway would be “contaminated” and would contaminate them…

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