Sampling for PA DEP Oil and Gas Radiation Study Begins in April
The State Journal
5 April 2013
By Pam Kasey
Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental Protection released
detailed sampling and quality assurance plans April 3 for its
ongoing radiation study of oil and gas development.
The agency will sample and analyze radioactivity levels of
flowback waters, treatment solids, drill cuttings and drilling
equipment, along with the transportation, storage and disposal of
"Based on current data, regulations and industry practices, there
is no indication that the public or workers in the oil and gas
industry face health risks from exposure to radiation from these
materials," the agency's media release read. "The study is aimed
at ensuring that public health and the environment continue to be
On Jan. 24, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett directed DEP to
undertake a comprehensive study examining naturally occurring
levels of radioactivity in byproducts associated with oil and gas
The sampling plan formulated by the agency outlines the types of
samples DEP will collect, their locations and the methods for
analyzing them. Its quality assurance plan provides specifics on
how the agency will collect, transport and analyze the samples.
DEP will collect and analyze drill cuttings, flowback fluid and
drilling mud for a variety of radioactive particles. Staff also
will examine compressor stations, storage tanks, trucks, drill
rigs and wastewater treatment facilities.
Sampling is expected to begin this month.
DEP said it routinely reviews radioactivity data in wastes that
the drilling industry and other industries generate, and that the
information obtained to date indicates very low levels of natural
radioactivity. The agency also said it maintains a statewide
monitoring network to protect the public from exposure to unsafe
levels of radiation.
For more information and to view the plans, visit http://www.dep.state.pa.us
and click the "Oil and Gas Development Radiation Study" banner at
the top of the homepage.