Drilling for oil and gasoline produces a number of wastewater. There’s tons of the stuff simply sitting round, too poisonous to launch again into the setting, and oil corporations have lengthy puzzled what they’re speculated to do with it. Lately, it appears they’ve provide you with a brand new thought: Simply dump it onto roads in winter to cease snow from sticking.
On one hand, you possibly can see the thought course of. Municipalities already dump salt on the roads to forestall snow buildup, and drilling wastewater is salty — why not simply swap them out? Then you definately hear that drilling wastewater poisons cattle, and also you go, Jesus Christ why are we even speaking about this?
That is the angle that Neel Dhanesha took in a chunk for Heatmap, which evaluated the professionals and cons of utilizing wastewater for street clearing. The end result, it appears, lands firmly on the facet of the cons. From Heatmap:
There are various crimson flags right here, beginning with “poisonous” and “wastewater.” But it surely additionally speaks to a bigger drawback: A lot of the fluid that comes out of the bottom throughout oil and gasoline drilling operations is wastewater — greater than 800 billion gallons a 12 months — and we don’t actually have answer for what to do with it. As I wrote final 12 months, injecting the water again into the bottom, which has been the go-to technique for disposing of it in lots of locations, has created earthquakes in each Texas and Oklahoma. And, as Inside Local weather Information additionally reported in a narrative yesterday, oil and gasoline corporations have been spilling tens of millions of gallons of the stuff in Texas, contaminating wells and poisoning cattle.
[I]ndustry representatives are actually making an attempt to persuade Pennsylvania’s Division of Environmental Safety to contemplate permitting its use of their state as properly. However wastewater is extra than simply historical, underground seawater — it additionally has benzene, arsenic, and the radioactive isotopes radium 226 and 228 using in it.
Now, certain, this all sounds dangerous. Benzene actually isn’t nice, arsenic is worse, and when you begin speaking about radioactivity I begin to suppose I ought to be sporting some protecting gear. However, each innovation has tradeoffs — certainly this wastewater is a minimum of more practical in suppressing snow and mud than plan previous salt, proper? From Heatmap:
The wastewater, it seems, washes proper off the street with out even suppressing mud.