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US Coast Guard proposes moved fracked wastewater on major US rivers

The Associated Press reports, “The U.S. Coast Guard wants to allow barges filled with fracking wastewater to ply the nation’s rivers on their way toward disposal.”

Great Lakes watershed

“The Marcellus Shale formation, underlying large parts of Pennsylvania, Ohio (both considered Great Lakes watershed states), West Virginia and some neighboring states, is the nation’s most productive natural gas field. Thousands of new wells have been drilled there since 2008, and hundreds of millions of gallons of wastewater needs to be disposed of each year.”

So the idea is to ship that waste south by river on barges.

“The Coast Guard proposal says barge companies want to move waste from the Marcellus region ‘via inland waterways to storage or reprocessing centers and final disposal sites in Ohio, Texas, and Louisiana’.”


“That means large quantities of waste could be shipped on major rivers such as the Ohio; one of its main tributaries, the Monongahela; and the Mississippi.”

Mississipi watershed

“Critics say that if there were an accident, it could threaten the drinking water supply of millions of people. They also cite the uncertainty around what’s in that toxic mix. The Coast Guard is proposing to address that by requiring chemical testing of each barge load before shipment; test results would also be kept on file for two years.”


“The Coast Guard is reviewing the comments from both sides, and it has the authority to approve or modify the rule. But there is no timeline for a decision…”