Safe Release of Colorado’s Radioactive E&P Waste
Commercial Landfills in Colorado have been advised that disposal of Oil and Gas Exploration and Production (E&P) waste is not exempt from Colorado Solid Waste Regulations (1), for example, 6 CCR 1007-2. Disposal of fracking waste is a nation-wide problem.
Fracking’s vertical/horizontal drill tailings, flow-back/produced water, scale, and filter socks are all almost certainly radioactive at levels unacceptable for ordinary landfills. Pipe and tank scale exceed acceptable release levels the most due to their continuous build-up of waste (2).
Each oil-well completion destroys from 5 to 10 million gallons of fresh water (Sci Am, July 2015)–permanently removes it from the hydrologic cycle by deep-injection, waste-disposal wells; the lesser value if recycled once. Such injection is necessary because frack waste water is radioactive and otherwise dangerously polluted (benzene, biocides, formaldehyde, etc). Local Operators may or may not use filter socks, thus recycle their frack water. Water recycling is a typical claim, however, to deflect criticism of egregiously wasteful practices in a water-sensitive region.