Ulster County Executive Michael Hein on Thursday signed an executive order prohibiting the purchase or use of hydraulic fracturing fluids on the 424 miles of county roads.Didn't realize just how nasty this stuff is:
The order was signed at the county Department of Public Works garage and comes less than a week in advance of a county Legislature public hearing to ban use of hydrofracking “brine” for deicing or dust control.
“I believe an executive order is now required to eliminate any ambiguity once and for all,” he said.
[. . .]
“Keeping this kind of material out of the county is absolutely essential,” she said. “The brines contain not only heavy salt solutions, which are terrible, but also chemicals, potentially heavy metals, and according to the New York state Department of Environmental Conservation radioactivity.”
Chemical additives used in fracturing fluids typically make up less than 2% by weight of the total fluid. Over the life of a typical well, this may amount to 100,000 gallons of chemical additives. These additives (listed in a U.S. House of Representatives Report) include biocides, surfactants, viscosity-modifiers, and emulsifiers. They vary widely in toxicity: Many are used in household products such as cosmetics, lotions, soaps, detergents, furniture polishes, floor waxes, and paints, and some are used in food products. Some, however, are known carcinogens, some are toxic, and some are neurotoxins. For example: benzene (causes cancer, bone marrow failure), lead (damages the nervous system and causes brain disorders), ethylene glycol (antifreeze, causes death), methanol (highly toxic), boric acid (kidney damage, death), 2-butoxyethanol (causes hemolysis). Gamma-emitting isotopes (radioactive; can cause cancer) are also included in the fluid as tracers. Some of the isotopes used are Antimony-121, Antimony-122, Antimony-123, Antimony-124, Antimony-125, Antimony-126, Antimony-127, Chromium-51, Cobalt-57, Cobalt-58, Cobalt-60, Gold-198, Iodine-127, Iodine-128, Iodine-129, Iodine-130, Iodine-131, Iridium-192, Iron-59, Krypton-85, Lanthanum-140, Potassium-39 (activated to Potassium-40), Potassium-41 (activated to Potassium-42), Potassium-43, Rubidium-86, Scandium-45, Scandium-46, Scandium-47, Scandium-48, Silver-110, Strontium-85, Xenon-133, Zinc-65, and Zirconium-95. Several are typically combined and injected together. Their half lifes range from 40.2 hours (Lanthanum-140) to 5.27 years (Cobalt-60).Probably a good thing it will no longer be running through our storm drains. Kudos to Hein for doing the right thing.