On October 3, 2013 Duke University published a study in Environmental Science & Technology that showed that the Josephine plant in Western Pennsylvania released low levels of toxins that mirror those found in flow-back water from hydraulically fractured Marcellus wells.
During a two year sampling period, the study found levels of concentrations of Chloride, Bromide, Calcium, Sodium, and Strontium higher than the concentrations measured upstream from the plant in a similar but diluted mixture compared to the composition of flow-back fluid recovered from Marcellus wells.
Although the plant was able to reduce Barium and Radium levels by over 90%, to levels that are acceptable and pose no immediate risk to people, the risk of bioaccumulation remains.
Fluid Recovery Services, the treatment plant owner, signed an agreement in May that bars the facility from accepting, treating or discharging waste water from unconventional drilling operations until the plant is upgraded to properly treat the flow-back water.
To view data that the study relies on click here.
Written by Joseph Negaard - Research Assistant
The Agricultural Law Resource and Reference Center
October 4, 2013