Pollution linked to gas drilling is clearing up
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University say a water quality problem in the Monongahela River that may have been linked to Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling is going away.
Researcher Jeanne VanBriesen says today that the decline appears to coincide with a voluntary ban on disposing gas drilling wastewater that took effect in the spring of 2011.
VanBriesen says preliminary data from this year showed that levels of salty bromides produced by drilling have declined significantly when compared to 2010 and 2011. In many cases the bromides were at undetectable levels in the river this year, and in general they returned to background, or normal levels.
Though not considered a pollutant by themselves, the bromides combine with the chlorine used in water treatment to produce compounds that can threaten public health.