Project Would Bring 400,000 Tons of Drilling Waste to Pa.’s ‘Grand Canyon’

  • The view from atop Pine Creek Gorge in Tioga County. The gorge is often called the "Grand Canyon" of Pennsylvania. Photo: Marie Cusick/StateImpact Pennsylvania

July 17, 2015

by Marie Cusick | StateImpact Pennsylvania

As Marcellus Shale gas drilling has proliferated, so has the amount of waste it generates. Last year in Pennsylvania, over two million tons of "drill cuttings" were sent to landfills.

Cuttings are the waste dirt and rock that comes up from drilling wells. The material contains naturally occurring radiation, heavy metals and industrial chemicals.

Over the past three years, a Montgomery County waste disposal company has found a novel way to avoid landfills, by processing and recycling drill cuttings. But critics argue it’s simply a way to avoid regulations. Now, plans to put the gas waste next to one of the state’s most pristine waterways have sparked a backlash.

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