[ RadSafe ] Radioactivity and Fracking

Peter Collopy chaosforthefuture at yahoo.com
Tue Jan 24 15:25:22 CST 2012

Several years ago I helped put together a radiological safety plan for a site that treated well development water. Because it is client confidential I can't tell you who or where but you can probably figure out which state given where the process has had the most notoriety.
The radiological results are interesting but not particularly frightening. Think of the plant as similar to any water treatment plant (basically the same process). After two years of operation I measured expsoure rates of ~ 600 uR/hr between any of the sludge collection tanks and between 20 and 100 uR/hr at other locations along the treatment process. The expsoure rate contribution was all from Ra-226 and progeny. Note that occasionally some of the hydrofracturing companies will use tracers; so while a small contributor some other radionuclides can end up in the well development water. Because they are mostly short lived their contribution is probably minimal-at least I didn't see any in the sludge analytical results. The most fun is doing RESRAD runs for disposal of the sludge (yes I know I need a better hobby).
The HPs with the best information would be the Dave Allard's group in PA (oh darn I gave away the location) and hopefully Dave will put some sort of paper together for the HP Ops journal (hint)
Pete C

Peter Collopy, CIH, CHP, CSP 
Director, Entropy Control 
Chaos for the Future 
1405 Torrance Street
San Diego CA

PS When not trying to control the vagaries of the physical universe I spend the remainder of my time working for AMEC or defeating my wife the summa cum laude English major in Scrabble.

From: S L Gawarecki <slgawarecki at gmail.com>
To: RadSafe <radsafe at health.phys.iit.edu>; maurysis at peoplepc.com 
Sent: Monday, January 23, 2012 8:38 PM
Subject: Re: [ RadSafe ] Radioactivity and Fracking

The website fracfocus.org has a lot of useful information also.  It seems
to be industry-oriented, with the purpose of disclosure of the chemicals
used during the injection process.

As you've no doubt noticed, "fracking" has become a target of
environmentalists in much the same way that nuclear has.  One should not
marginalize the concerns regarding the potential contamination of
aquifers.  As a hydrogeologist, I can see the need for some pre-fracking
testing of all municipal and some household water wells in the area in
order to provide a baseline should there be a dispute at a later time.
Certainly this would encourage companies to use best practices and ensure
that they are communicating with local stakeholders.

Susan Gawarecki, PhD, PG

Would one of you folks suggest or provide a link to one good educational
article about the purpose, methods, and applications of fracturing? I daily
send articles, my prejudices, and so on about science, geopolitics, humor,
climate, and items as well from radsafe and from riskanal to about 80
family and friends. I'd like to spread some good honest educational words
about fracturing that will also alleviate my own endless curiosity. Thanks
for your help.
Maury&Dog      maurysis at peoplepc.com
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