Wastewater from gas drilling being used for area road maintenance

JULY 20. 2011

Several New York municipalities — including communities in Chemung, Broome and Tompkins counties — are using contaminated wastewater from natural gas drilling operations as part of their road and highway maintenance programs, according to an Ithaca-based environmental activist.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation sanctions the use of the wastewater, with restrictions, through a “beneficial use determination” program.

The wastewater is the fluid that flows back to the surface through a well bore along with natural gas. The fluid often contains brine, heavy metals and radioactive materials, said Walter Hang, president of Toxics Targeting in Ithaca.

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