A truck carrying drill cuttings from a hydraulic fracturing pad in the Marcellus Shale was rejected by a Pennsylvania landfill Friday after it set off a radiation alarm, according to published reports. The truck was emitting gamma radiation from radium 226 at almost ten times the level permitted at the landfill.
The MAX Environmental Technologies truck was first quarantined at the landfill, which is operated by MAX, and then sent back to the fracking pad—Rice Energy’s Thunder II pad in Greene County—to be redirected to a site that can accept higher levels of radiation.
“It’s low-level radiation, but we don’t want any radiation in South Huntingdon,” Tom Cornell, a township supervisor where the landfill is located, told the Pittsburgh Tribune Review. Versions of the story also appeared today 0n the Akron Beacon-Journal and Marcellus Drilling News (subscription required), a pro-fracking site for landowners.
The cuttings in the truck were found to emit 96 microrem of radiation, and the landfill is required to reject materials that emit more than 10 microrem. The level is far below the EPA’s standard for air pollution: 10,000 microrem (also known as 10 millirem).