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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

PA drilling waste reports vastly understated

This Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article is a must-read. 

It reveals the very disturbing fact that the volume of drilling-related waste that's being sent to landfills from unconventional natural gas production in Pennsylvania is being vastly under-reported by operators. The huge discrepancy was discovered when company filings were compared to reports - characterized as "accurate" by state officials - that landfill operators file with the state.

It's too early to tell what the source of the discrepancy is. But multiple companies appear to be involved. It could be a systems error.  If the discrepancies prove to be deliberate, that's another matter entirely.

Either way, this problem must be fixed - fast.  Cradle-to-grave tracking of every load of drilling waste should be mandatory. It's another example of the adage that what isn't measured (accurately, at least) can't be managed. And hazardous drilling waste must be very carefully managed.

The Post-Gazette continues to do excellent reporting in the public interest.

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