2 Pa. water companies to test for radiation into streams, rivers

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Two western Pennsylvania water companies say they’ll begin testing water supplies for radiation over concerns about treated gas-drilling water being discharged into streams and rivers.

The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority and Pennsylvania American Water Co. say they expect tests to be conducted in the coming weeks.

The natural gas drilling process known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, produces chemically tainted and sometimes radioactive waste water that returns to the surface.

The industry now recycles more than half the tainted water produced in Pennsylvania but some of those gains are being offset by the expansion of drilling in the lucrative Marcellus Shale formation.

In the last half of 2010 at least 2.8 million barrels of well wastewater were sent to Pennsylvania treatment plants that discharge into rivers and streams.

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