CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A state-sponsored study meant to examine potential pollution from the boom in natural gas drilling never actually tested key wastes from the Marcellus Shale formation, according to a West Virginia University researcher who led the effort.
Teams performing the legislatively mandated review examined only materials from the vertical portion of wells, not from the horizontal drilling at those same sites, which would have included Marcellus Shale mud and drill cuttings.
The omission is important because researchers believe material from the Marcellus Shale is generally more radioactive, and citizen groups are expressing growing concern about the risks of handling and disposal of radioactive drilling wastes.
"We can't dismiss the potential risks," Paul Ziemkiewicz, director of WVU's Water Research Institute, which coordinated the study, told lawmakers. "We just haven't characterized it."
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Chesapeake Energy Corp,the Oklahoma-based firm is the No. 1 driller in Ohio.
Rig Count Interactive Map by Baker Hughes, an energy services company.
Shale Sheet Fracking, a Youngstown Vindicator blog.
The Ohio Environmental Council, a statewide eco-group based in Columbus.
Earthjustice, a national eco-group.
People's Oil and Gas Collaborative-Ohio, a grass-roots group in Northeast Ohio.
Concerned Citizens of Medina County, a grass-roots group.
No Frack Ohio, a Columbus-based grass-roots group.
Fracking: Gas Drilling's Environmental Threat by ProPublica, an online journalism site.
Pipeline, blog from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Marcellus shale drilling.
Allegheny Front, environmental public radio for Western Pennsylvania.