TEDX podcast: Is road spreading of oil and gas wastewater safe?

Got frackwater? A truck sprays dust suppressant in NW Pennsylvania, where some communities use oil & gas wastewater on dirt roads. [Photo credit: Center for Dirt and Gravel Road Studies]

In Colorado oil & gas wastewater — aka frackwater — is treated to remove hydrocarbons for use on dirt & gravel roadways. Use of the so-called “fossil water” for dust control on roadways is regulated and permitted by the state under the Hazardous Materials and Waste Management Division. Frackwater treatment companies are required to label the “fossil water” with this warning: “This material is concentrated produced water from oil-and-gas wells. It contains sodium and radium at levels much greater than found in commercial road stabilizers and dust suppressants. In addition, this material does not contain any corrosion inhibitors.”

The latest TEDX podcast asks:

Is road spreading of oil and gas wastewater safe?

Episode 11: Dr. William Burgos, Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Penn State University, answers the question “Is road spreading of oil and gas wastewater safe?” He describes beneficial reuse of produced water, a byproduct of oil and gas development, focusing on dust suppression for roads. He addresses chemical contaminants, exposure pathways, and potential impacts on human and ecological health and includes suggestions to strengthen protections when reusing wastewater.

Click here to listen to the 12-minute podcast.

Read his study on the topic: Environmental and Human Health Impacts of Spreading Oil and Gas Wastewater on Roads

Catch up on all the podcasts, webinars, and teleconferences at the TEDX Oil & Gas Program.

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The FrackHealth Database catalogues peer-reviewed research on health effects associated with unconventional oil and gas drilling, with search filters for the location of the study, type of health effect, exposure source and more.

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