Wastewater disposal is greatest threat to drinking water from gas fracking operations, say researchers

A new study has found that fracking for natural gas poses the greatest threat to waterways and drinking water via approved, regular disposal of “fracking water” at municipal and industrial wastewater treatment facilities.

This type of disposal, used in the Marcellus Shale region in the Northeast U.S., is failing to adequately cleanse the wastewater produced by gas wells, according to the study. The result is that ostensibly “treated” water is being discharged into streams and waterways still contaminated with chemicals and minerals that accumulate during the fracking process.

The state of our oceans, in a clamshell

Our oceans, long taken for granted, are being stressed by pollution, over-fishing and climate change. Plastic gyres, swirling pools of plastic refuse, occupy several spots in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. The largest one, in the North Pacific, is estimated to exceed the size of Texas….These linked, but disparate problems — pollution, unsustainable fishing practices, jobs at risk — won’t be solved easily. That’s why several environmental and conservation groups working around the globe have formed the Global Partnership for Oceans. The groups hope that together they can work to save the marine environment before human pressures cause natural fisheries to collapse.

EPA issues new standards that will curb mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants

Public health advocates and environmentalists praised the Obama Administration for adopting standards for air pollution to reduce mercury and other toxics released mainly from power plants.

The Mercury and Air Toxics Standards for Power Plants, announced today by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “are long overdue” and will help reduce the amounts of mercury, lead, arsenic and other pollutants that affect human health, American Lung Association leaders said.

“Since toxic air pollution from power plants can make people sick and cut lives short, the new Mercury and Air Toxics Standards are a huge victory for public health,” said Albert A. Rizzo, MD, National Volunteer Chair of the American Lung Association, and pulmonary and critical care physician in Newark, Delaware. “The Lung Association expects all oil and coal-fired power plants to act now to protect all Americans, especially our children, from the health risks imposed by these dangerous air pollutants.”

Colorado oil leak contaminates South Platte River, source of drinking water for Denver

An oil leak of still undetermined proportions in Colorado has soiled the South Platte River and forced employees of the Denver Metro Wastewater plant to wear masks protecting them from the benzene and VOC fumes emitting from the contaminated water.

Calgary-based Suncor acknowledged that the petroleum came from its refinery in Commerce City, and a spokesperson told Reuters on Wednesday that the leak had been stopped.

Pelicans and other birds drenched with oil in offshore nesting areas

Oiled pelicans rescued June 3 (Photo: International Bird Rescue Research Center)

The heartbreaking photos and video, many released yesterday when it was discovered that a famous rookery on Grand Isle had been inundated with oil, leave no doubt that this latest human accident will suffocate life wherever it lands and beyond. It will asphyxiate birds with a coating of oil, and orphan offspring left behind in the nests.