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Earth Science

Sewage Plants Struggle To Treat Fracking Wastewater 264

MTorrice writes "When energy companies extract natural gas trapped deep underground using hydraulic fracturing, they're left with water containing high levels of pollutants, including benzene and barium. Sometimes the gas producers dispose of this fracking wastewater by sending it to treatment plants that deal with sewage and water from other industrial sources. But a new study (abstract) suggests that the plants can't handle this water's high levels of contaminants: Water flowing out of the plants into the environment still has elevated levels of the chemicals from natural gas production."
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Sewage Plants Struggle To Treat Fracking Wastewater

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  • by MightyYar ( 622222 ) on Tuesday March 19, 2013 @03:47PM (#43216627)

    This one is particularly easy to fix - make them pay for upgrades to the plants.

  • by AuMatar ( 183847 ) on Tuesday March 19, 2013 @03:55PM (#43216721)

    Fines don't do it. Jailtime for CEOs would. My rule of thumb- any crime bad enough to be fined a 100K dollars should include 6 months of jailtime for a CxO or the president of the board of directors. For every 100K after that, add 6 months for another of them. No parole. THAT would get companies to clean up their act.

  • by Attila Dimedici ( 1036002 ) on Tuesday March 19, 2013 @04:52PM (#43217407)
    The most important part of the article is completely ignored by the summary. Wastewater treatment plants stopped accepting the waste water from fracking operations because it seemed likely that the results this study found would be the case (the study needed to be done to confirm that what was apparent was what was real). Treating the waste water from fracking operations is a greater expense than treating other waste water. The fracking operations are appropriately forced to absorb this cost. That means that there is no actual problem here.
  • "The Conqueror." (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 19, 2013 @08:48PM (#43219567)

    I've followed this case for decades, and the producer also had a few truckloads of the soil brought back to use on the sound stage, because the color was so intense it would have been noticeable if the earth was a different color in the same scene cuts.

    I wonder if all that 'imported' radioactive soil is still on a Hollywood back lot somewhere, or if it got disbursed and has been irradiating unsuspecting people for decades?

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