Our Streets Are Covered in Hazardous Waste

That's not salt on those icy roads

It was only yesterday that the Scoop made light of Philadelphia’s ranking on what seemed like a meaningless list. Turns out, there’s good reason for our city to be ranked as the most toxic in the U.S. An article in the New York Times revealed that Pennsylvanians are drinking water contaminated with hazardous waste, which was used to de-ice roads.

Some well operators are also selling their waste, rather than paying to dispose of it. Because it is so salty, they have found ready buyers in communities that spread it on roads for de-icing in the winter and for dust suppression in the summer. When ice melts or rain falls, the waste can run off roads and end up in the drinking supply.

Yet in Pennsylvania, where the number of drilling permits for gas wells has jumped markedly in the last several years, in part because the state sits on a large underground gas formation known as the Marcellus Shale, such waste remains exempt from federal and state oversight, even when turned into salts and spread on roads.

The Scoop speaks for everyone when he says, “Uh, gross.” [Attytood]