Oil Extraction Turned Penn Lake Into Radioactive Wastewater


A team of researchers found that fracking is leading to the destruction of Penn Lake. According to researchers, the lake has high concentrations of toxic chemicals, including radioactive contaminants, Experts says one of the toxic chemicals found in the lake - polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons - are classified as a carcinogen.

Fracking wastewater found to contaminate lakes

Hydraulic fracturing, more commonly known as fracking, is an unconventional method of extracting oil and gas. The practice has paved the way for increased production of domestic oil and gas in the United States. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, fracking now accounts for more than one-half of oil production and two-thirds of gas production across the country.

Fracking’s market share is expected to increase over the next few years because it promotes shifting the focus away from coal — a move that is guaranteed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.   However, fracking can still be a harmful practice — large volumes of wastewater from fracking sites were found to have released a plethora of toxic chemicals and compounds into surface waters, leading to the contamination of a Pennsylvania watershed.

A study published online in Environmental Science and Technology, the flagship journal of the American Chemical Society, revealed that treated wastewater from a hydraulic fracturing site has heavily contaminated a Pennsylvania watershed with billions of gallons of toxic chemicals. Furthermore, according to a Pennsylvania report, 10,000 unconventional oil and gas wells in the Marcellus Shale produced as much as 1.7 billion gallons of wastewater — which are treated haphazardly by wastewater treatment facilities before being dumped into the lake’s surface — in 2015 alone.

Fracking is deemed as a harmful method of extracting oil because the practice releases contaminants that are dangerous to the health. Exposure to toxic chemicals found in Penn Lake could cause a variety of serious health problems, including bladder, liver, and stomach cancers.


Image courtesy of: Michael_Quinn

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