Environmental and Human Health Impacts of Spreading Oil and Gas Wastewater on Roads

T. L. Tasker, W. D. Burgos, P. Piotrowski, L. Castillo-Meza, T. A. Blewett, K. B. Ganow, A. Stallworth, P. L.M. Delompré, G. G. Goss, L. B. Fowler, J. P. Vanden Heuvel, F. Dorman, N. R. Warner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

Thirteen states in the United States allow the spreading of O&G wastewaters on roads for deicing or dust suppression. In this study, the potential environmental and human health impacts of this practice are evaluated. Analyses of O&G wastewaters spread on roads in the northeastern, U.S. show that these wastewaters have salt, radioactivity, and organic contaminant concentrations often many times above drinking water standards. Bioassays also indicated that these wastewaters contain organic micropollutants that affected signaling pathways consistent with xenobiotic metabolism and caused toxicity to aquatic organisms like Daphnia magna. The potential toxicity of these wastewaters is a concern as lab experiments demonstrated that nearly all of the metals from these wastewaters leach from roads after rain events, likely reaching ground and surface water. Release of a known carcinogen (e.g., radium) from roads treated with O&G wastewaters has been largely ignored. In Pennsylvania from 2008 to 2014, spreading O&G wastewater on roads released over 4 times more radium to the environment (320 millicuries) than O&G wastewater treatment facilities and 200 times more radium than spill events. Currently, state-by-state regulations do not require radium analyses prior to treating roads with O&G wastewaters. Methods for reducing the potential impacts of spreading O&G wastewaters on roads are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7081-7091
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Volume52
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 19 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Environmental and Human Health Impacts of Spreading Oil and Gas Wastewater on Roads'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this

    Tasker, T. L., Burgos, W. D., Piotrowski, P., Castillo-Meza, L., Blewett, T. A., Ganow, K. B., Stallworth, A., Delompré, P. L. M., Goss, G. G., Fowler, L. B., Vanden Heuvel, J. P., Dorman, F., & Warner, N. R. (2018). Environmental and Human Health Impacts of Spreading Oil and Gas Wastewater on Roads. Environmental Science and Technology, 52(12), 7081-7091. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.8b00716