AF Video: Why is Fracking Wastewater Radioactive?

Filmmaker Josh Kurz and The Allegheny Front's Reid Frazier created this explainer about why the wastewater created during fracking for oil and natural gas—flowback—is radioactive. And just where does that dirty, salty waste water go? It's fracking amazing.



The subject of fracking and radioactivity has been a topic of concern for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. The agency just completed a two-year study that found fracking in the Marcellus Shale had "little potential" to expose workers or the public to unhealthy levels of radiation. The report did find "potential radiological environmental impacts" at waste treatment facilities, from frack wastewater spills, and waste "cakes". It recommended further study of these.  

For more on fracking and radioactivity, see The Allegheny Front's prior coverage of drilling waste. Wilkes University also published a comprehensive guide on Marcellus Shale's radioactivity.  The PA DEP just released a report that says radioactive gas drilling waste not  is a threat to public health—read more at StateImpact PA.

For more of Josh Kurz's science videos, visit his company's web site: