A Duke University study has found radioactivity and salinity at a shale gas waste disposal site.
The study, published October 2, 2013 in Environmental Science & Technology, a peer-reviewed journal, examined water discharged from the Josephine Brine Treatment Facility into Blacklick Creek. That water feeds into a water source for western Pennsylvania cities, including Pittsburgh, the study found.
Scientists took samples upstream and downstream from the treatment facility over a two-year period, with the last sample taken in June 2013.
Elevated levels of chloride and bromide, combined with strontium, radium, oxygen, and hydrogen isotopic compositions, are present in the Marcellus shale wastewaters, the study found.
The Duke study, called Impacts of Shale Gas Wastewater Disposal on Water Quality in Western Pennsylvania, is the first to use isotope hydrology to link shale gas waste, treatment sites and discharge into drinking water supplies.