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Pennsylvania Study to Examine Radiation Levels in Oil and Gas Development

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection will conduct a study examining naturally-occurring levels of radioactivity in by-products associated with oil and natural gas development.

“In the coming months DEP is going to analyze the radiation levels in flowback water, treatment solids and drill cuttings and also look at how these wastes are getting transported, stored and disposed of,” said DEP spokesman Kevin Sunday.

Currently, landfills and others are required to monitor radiation levels of incoming waste. Instream flows and public water supplies are also monitored.

“At all these levels we’re seeing nothing that indicates the public is at risk, nor are the workers in the drilling industry,” said Sunday, “but recognizing that this industry is here for generations to come, Governor Corbett has asked us to take a look with an eye toward the future, on where we might need to strengthen our regulatory program as development continues and increases in the state.”

Throughout the study, the DEP will provide progress reports to its water, waste, radiation, and citizens’ advisory councils. The study is expected to take 12 to 14 months.