Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Fight for your landfill’s safety from fracking wastes

Each Ohio county has a “solid waste policy committee” that sets a policy for  what waste is accepted. Please attend their next meeting and speak up against Ohio allowing the frackers’ legacy of contamination. Perhaps your persuasion will stop the frackers in their tracks.

Frackers are producing mass quantities of rock and sludge waste that is radioactive and chemically hazardous to those who come into contact with it. For liquid waste, dirt is being mixed into the sludge and the result is thick enough “solidification” to pass the “paint filter” test, so it too can be dumped into a solid waste landfill.

Today we made the effort to block the receipt of fracking waste into our landfill here in Cincinnati. We met lots of resistance from the conservative political forces that say they trust Kasich’s appointees, and don’t believe fracking waste has risks.

We ask that you please (1) find out when your county’s solid waste policy
committee meets and (2) go ask them to block the landfilling of fracking
waste in your county.

What’s at stake? At the meeting, OEPA today said 988 permits for Utica shale
and 35 for Marcellus shale have been issued. There will soon be 2,000
fracking wells in Ohio; there are 1,400 tons of waste per well. Do the math!
The rock waste, chemical sludge and contaminated sand is headed to Ohio
landfills, joining the waste coming to Ohio from more tightly regulated
states like W.Va. and Pa., unless your Ohio county adopts a new waste policy
that prevents radioactive and chemical waste and drilling rocks being
accepted at your landfills.

The easiest reason for the committee to agree, excluding the waste, is
“rapid landfill capacity exhaustion” – the capacity of any landfill for
taking in new waste depends on the natural drop in height over a year or so,
as buried loads of mixed food and paper waste dissolve inside the landfill.
But a landfill that accepts rock waste knows that this waste won’t ever
dissolve, so every bit of rock that goes into your landfill stays there and
it leaches its chemical and radiological wastes into the water that comes
out from under the landfill. Your county needs to buy sites for a new
landfill much faster than predicted before the frackers’ rock waste was

The Ohio Department of Health speaker today said “all shale is radioactive”
and “it has to go somewhere”. But in Ohio only one (1) fracking waste load
has been evaluated for radioactive levels, to date; and rules are NOT in
place to require any testing devices be used at landfills. ODH reports that
6 or 7 eastern Ohio landfills now accept fracking waste including
radioactive rock waste. There should be a 21-day minimum waiting period
while lab tests on truckloads are conducted, but some landfills run tests in
as few as 5 days and accept the waste. ODH said “we’re open to faster

Simply put, the frackers’ legacy is coming to glow in your landfills, and
each county solid waste board needs to hear your local speakers’ objections.
Save capacity for future local wastes, don’t exhaust capacity rapidly by
accepting radioactive rock wastes. In Cincinnati, the issue was tabled for a
prosecutor’s opinion on what a county can do to limit any particular waste
stream. Go try it with your county waste team and may you be more successful
than we were. Legacy of radwaste in our county? Why sit silently by?

Prof. Jim O’Reilly