Gas drilling wastewater and Pets
2011 - Michelle Bamberger, MS, DVM, and
Robert E. Oswald, Professor of
Pharmacology, Department of Molecular
Medicine, Cornell University, have
released their abstract, "Impact of Gas
Drilling on Human and Animal Health."
animals often are exposed continually to
air, soil, and groundwater and have more
frequent reproductive cycles, animals
can be used as sentinels to monitor
impacts to human health. This study
involved interviews with animal owners
who live near gas drilling operations.
The findings illustrate which aspects of
the drilling process may lead to health
problems and suggest modifications that
would lessen but not eliminate impacts."
Impacts of Gas Drilling on Human &
(PDF - 194KB)
August 2011 - Reports of
pet, livestock and wildlife deaths
continue around the Marcellus Shale.
Some of these deaths have been linked to
ethylene glycol. It is most commonly
known for it use as anti-freeze in cars,
but it is also used at Marcellus gas
well heads to prevent the gas from
tank at a Marcellus well
Upon ingestion, ethylene glycol and its
toxic byproducts first affect the
central nervous system, then the heart
and finally the kidneys. Ingestion of
sufficient amounts can be fatal if
untreated. Ethylene glycol in air will
break down in about 10 days, and in
water and soil it will break down within
several days to a few weeks.
During a fall drought
and subsequent period of low water flow in
Pittsburgh rivers during the fall of 2008, the
drinking water taken from local rivers by water
plants began to change. A combination of low water
levels and high TDS (total dissolved solids) created
undesirable conditions, as the water began to taste
Stream pollution related to Marcellus Shale
A local pet owner began to notice a red slime that would
accumulate in the cat's water dish, half-jokingly
calling it "red tide." Similar accumulations
have been noticed in toilets. Plumbers report more
black-colored deposits in plumbing fixtures over the
past few years, ever since hydraulic fracturing
began in the Pittsburgh area. Manganese is one
element known to make water black.
A lady from south of
Pittsburgh who has several show dogs reports that
her dogs began to develop crystals in their urine, a
precursor to stones.
Around this same time Marcellus Shale gas drillers
were raiding every source of water possible to
obtain free water for hydraulic fracturing of their
newest gas wells. This helped lower water shed
levels. At the same time, produced water from
fracking operations was being hauled to any
municipal wastewater plant that would accept it.
Many of these plants were ill-equipped to handle the
high salt content of this brine water, let alone
remove many of the heavy metals associated with TDS.
After the vet's diagnosis of urine crystals, the
lady with show dogs switched them from the tap water
that was coming out of the Monongahela River in
Pittsburgh and began giving them bottled water.
Their urine crystals cleared up.
Looking into this further, we found the following
about urine crystals:
Urine crystals can be a risk factor for kidney
Kidney stones consist of magnesium, ammonium
and phosphate which is also known as
Struvite is a common problem in
wastewater treatment plants, clogging lines and
creating scale on pipes.