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You are here News Environment Only a fraction of Ohio fracking wastes to undergo regulation

Only a fraction of Ohio fracking wastes to undergo regulation

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fracking wastesOhio annually processes thousands of tons of radioactive waste from hydraulic-fracturing, sending it through treatment facilities, injecting it into its old and unused gas wells and dumping it in landfills. Historically, the handling and disposal of that waste was barely regulated, with few requirements for how its potential contamination would be gauged, or how and where it could be transported and stored.

With the business of fracking waste only growing, legislators in 2013 had the chance to decide how best to monitor the state's vast amounts of toxic material, much of it being trucked into Ohio from neighboring states.

But despite calls to require that the waste be rigorously tested for contamination, Gov. John Kasich and the state legislature signed off on measures that require just a fraction of the waste to be subjected to such oversight. The great majority of the byproducts creating during the drilling process – the water and rock unearthed – still do not have to be tested at all.

As well, the legislature, lobbied by the fracking industry, undid the governor's bid to have the testing of the waste done by the state's Department of Health — the agency acknowledged by many to possess the most expertise with radioactive material. The testing is now the responsibility of the Department of Natural Resources, the agency that oversees the permitting and inspection of oil and gas drilling sites, but that has no track record for dealing with radioactive waste.

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