End waste pits

| Friday, May 16, 2014, 8:57 p.m.

The news story “DEP investigating drilling wastewater leak in Washington County” showed the risks posed by fracking. As this story clearly showed, the state's residents desperately need the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to halt the use of dangerous fracking waste pits in the commonwealth.

Fracking wastewater is dangerous to our health, communities and environment — containing toxic carcinogens like benzene, poisonous heavy metals like arsenic and lead, and often contaminated with radioactive materials. The last thing we need is to put massive holding ponds the size of football fields with this toxic pollution near people's homes and in our communities.

As this story shows, fracking wastewater pits can and often do fail.

They overflow and send toxic pollution into nearby waterways or drinking-water supplies, release harmful chemicals into the air and in some cases, they've even exploded or caught fire due to the high levels of volatile chemicals found in the wastewater.

Recently, over 15,000 individuals called on the DEP to ban these hazards. This is just one more example of why the DEP should take action — as soon as possible.

Kristen Cevoli

Squirrel Hill

The writer is fracking program director for PennEnvironment (pennenvironment.org).

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