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Interactive Map: Wastewater Samples From Gas Wells Test Positive for Radioactivity

Interactive Map: Wastewater Samples From Gas Wells Test Positive for Radioactivity

by Abrahm Lustgarten and Krista Kjellman Schmidt, ProPublica - November 9, 2009

New York's Department of Environmental Conservation analyzed 13 samples of wastewater brought thousands of feet to the surface from 12 gas wells being drilled in the Marcellus Shale. Of those 13 samples, 11 contained levels of radium-226, a derivative of uranium, above the legally allowed amount safe for discharge, which is 60 pCi/L. One sample tested as high as 267 times that amount. Gross alpha and gross beta represent general detections of multiple kinds of radioactive isotopes.

The size of the markers on the map correlates to the number of times the sample from that well tested above the legal limit for radium-226.

Well Name Location Operator Radiological Readings
Calabro T1 Orange, Schuyler County Fortuna Energy Inc.
  • Gross Alpha: 18,330 +/- 3,694 pCi/L
  • Gross Beta: -324.533 +/- 654 pCi/L
  • Radium-226: 13,510 +/- 2,655 pCi/L
Carpenter 1 Troupsburg, Steuben County Quest Eastern Resource
  • Gross Alpha: 7,974 +/- 1,800 pCi/L
  • Gross Beta: 1,627 +/- 736 pCi/L
  • Radium-226: 5,352 +/- 1,051 pCi/L
Frost 2 Orange, Schuyler County Fortuna Energy Inc.
  • Gross Alpha: 14,530 +/- 3,792 pCi/L
  • Gross Beta: 4,561 +/- 1,634 pCi/L
  • Radium-226: 2,647 +/- 494 pCi/L
Haines 1 Avoca, Steuben County Avoca Farms Ltd.
  • Gross Alpha: 54.6 +/- 37.4 pCi/L
  • Gross Beta: 59.3 +/- 58.4 pCi/L
  • Radium-226: 0.195 +/- 0.162 pCi/L
Haines 2 Avoca, Steuben County Avoca Farms Ltd.
  • Gross Alpha: 70.0 +/- 47.8 pCi/L
  • Gross Beta: 6.79 +/- 54.4 pCi/L
  • Radium-226: 0.163 +/- 0.198 pCi/L
Maxwell 1C Caton, Steuben County Fortuna Energy Inc. Reading on 10/7/2008:
  • Gross Alpha: 17,940 +/- 8,634 pCi/L
  • Gross Beta: 4,765 +/- 3,829 pCi/L
  • Radium-226: 2,472 +/- 484 pCi/L

Reading on 4/1/2009:
  • Gross Alpha: 3,968 +/- 1,102 pCi/L
  • Gross Beta: 618 +/- 599 pCi/L
  • Radium-226: 7,885 +/- 1,568 pCi/L
Parker 1 Oxford, Chenango County Nornew Inc.
  • Gross Alpha: 3,914 +/- 813 pCi/L
  • Gross Beta: 715 +/- 202 pCi/L
  • Radium-226: 1,779 +/- 343 pCi/L
Schiavone 2 Reading, Schuyler County EOG Resources Inc.
  • Gross Alpha: 16,550 +/- 3,355 pCi/L
  • Gross Beta: 1,323 +/- 711 pCi/L
  • Radium-226: 15,140 +/- 2,989 pCi/L
Webster T1 Orange, Schuyler County Fortuna Energy Inc.
  • Gross Alpha: 123,000 +/- 23,480 pCi/L
  • Gross Beta: 12,000 +/- 2,903 pCi/L
  • Radium-226: 16,030 +/- 2,995 pCi/L
WGI 10 Dix, Schuyler County EOG Resources Inc.
  • Gross Alpha: 10,970 +/- 2,363 pCi/L
  • Gross Beta: 1,170 +/- 701 pCi/L
  • Radium-226: 6,125 +/- 1,225 pCi/L
WGI 11 Dix, Schuyler County EOG Resources Inc.
  • Gross Alpha: 20,750 +/- 4,117 pCi/L
  • Gross Beta: 2,389 +/- 861 pCi/L
  • Radium-226: 10,160 +/- 2,026 pCi/L
Zinck Woodhull, Steuben County Quest Eastern Resource
  • Gross Alpha: 9,426 +/- 2,065 pCi/L
  • Gross Beta: 2,780 +/- 879 pCi/L
  • Radium-226: 4,049 +/- 807 pCi/L