Move to Ban Disposal of Radioactive Waste in Westchester

05 Dec, 2012

By Loop Contributor


from grassrootsinfo.org:


The Westchester County Board of Legislators is considering legislation to ban the sale, application and disposal in Westchester County of radioactive, toxic waste from natural gas drilling operations.


Your immediate actions are urgently needed:


*  Please call your County Legislator (in our area this is Judy Myers)  and ask them to support this important legislation to ban the sale, application and disposal of radioactive, toxic fracking waste in Westchester County.

Call: 914-995-2800 or email at www.westchesterlegislators.com/contact-us.html


*  Residents and representatives/members of Westchester organizations are strongly urged to attend the public hearing on December 10th at 10 am to express support for passage of critical legislation to ban the sale, application and disposal in Westchester County of radioactive, toxic waste from natural gas drilling operations.  This legislation includes a ban on road spreading of fracking waste on all roads in Westchester County and a ban on the acceptance of  fracking waste from all wastewater treatment facilities in Westchester County.


Background Information:


We are pleased that the Westchester County Board of Legislators is considering the passage of critical legislation that will address fracking waste from shale gas drilling operations. There is no safe disposal plan in place for the billions of gallons of radioactive, toxic waste that is generated from these gas extraction activities.


High volume hydraulic fracturing (HVHF) also known as “hydrofracking” or “fracking” involves drilling deep underground into shale formations and injecting under high pressure millions of gallons of water and hundreds of toxic chemicals, linked to cancer and endocrine disruption, to fracture the shale so that the gas can be released.


Ten to forty percent of this highly toxic mixture returns to the surface with the gas along with other contaminants including heavy metals, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), brine (approximately eight times saltier than sea water) and high levels of naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORMs) including radium-226 and radium-228 which are known carcinogens, posing a potentially significant human health threat.  Although this radioactive, toxic waste from hydraulic fracturing operations exceeds criteria for classification as hazardous waste, it is only classified as “industrial waste” and therefore does not involve strict tracking requirements in  handling, storage, treatment and disposal.


Westchester’s seven wastewater treatment facilities are listed in the Appendix of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation  (NYS DEC) Revised Draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (RDSGEIS) along with other facilities across New York State that could potentially receive fracking waste, if permitted to do so.  These treatment plants, according to numerous leading scientific experts, are not designed to treat chemicals, contaminants and radioactive materials produced from fracking operations.


Whether or not hydrofracking is permitted in New York State, radioactive, toxic fracking waste poses an immediate public health threat since it can be transported from active, low-volume gas wells in New York State and brought in from Pennsylvania and other states where high volume hydraulic fracturing is permitted.  With lax oversight and absence of federal and state regulations, local governments are stepping in to fill the huge and dangerous void by passing comprehensive legislation to ban the use of fracking waste for road applications and to prohibit the acceptance of fracking waste at local wastewater treatment facilities.
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