Highway Salt Is Dangerous, However Poisonous Wastewater Would Be Worse

Drilling for oil and fuel produces a number of wastewater. There’s tons of the stuff simply sitting round, too poisonous to launch again into the atmosphere, and oil firms have lengthy puzzled what they’re speculated to do with it. Just lately, it appears they’ve give you a brand new thought: Simply dump it onto roads in winter to cease snow from sticking.

On one hand, you’ll be able to see the thought course of. Municipalities already dump salt on the roads to stop snow buildup, and drilling wastewater is salty — why not simply swap them out? You then hear that drilling wastewater poisons cattle, and also you go, Jesus Christ why are we even speaking about this?

That is the angle that Neel Dhanesha took in a bit for Heatmap, which evaluated the professionals and cons of utilizing wastewater for street clearing. The end result, it appears, lands firmly on the aspect of the cons. From Heatmap:

There are lots of pink flags right here, beginning with “poisonous” and “wastewater.” However it additionally speaks to a bigger downside: Many of the fluid that comes out of the bottom throughout oil and fuel drilling operations is wastewater — greater than 800 billion gallons a yr — and we don’t actually have answer for what to do with it. As I wrote final yr, injecting the water again into the bottom, which has been the go-to methodology for disposing of it in lots of locations, has created earthquakes in each Texas and Oklahoma. And, as Inside Local weather Information additionally reported in a narrative yesterday, oil and fuel firms have been spilling hundreds of thousands of gallons of the stuff in Texas, contaminating wells and poisoning cattle.

[I]ndustry representatives at the moment are making an attempt to persuade Pennsylvania’s Division of Environmental Safety to contemplate permitting its use of their state as properly. However wastewater is extra than simply historical, underground seawater — it additionally has benzene, arsenic, and the radioactive isotopes radium 226 and 228 driving in it.

Now, certain, this all sounds unhealthy. Benzene definitely isn’t nice, arsenic is worse, and when you begin speaking about radioactivity I begin to suppose I ought to be sporting some protecting gear. However, each innovation has tradeoffs — absolutely this wastewater is a minimum of simpler in suppressing snow and dirt than plan outdated salt, proper? From Heatmap:

The wastewater, it seems, washes proper off the street with out even suppressing mud.

Oh, goddamnit.