If the Coast Guard gets its way, toxic wastewater from hydraulic fracking may be making its way down New York rivers soon. Fracking is the process of drilling and injecting highly pressurized fluids into the shale rock layers deep beneath the ground. The process is used to extract natural gas that was once unreachable with previous technology. Wastewater is often produced as a by-product of fracking. This wastewater can contain chemicals, heavy metals, and radiation.

The Huffington Post reports that the U.S. Coast Guard is seeking the public’s opinion on a proposal that would allow barges to transport the wastewater on New York’s rivers. This is considered risky because if a barge were to be involved in a collision toxic wastewater could potentially pollute New York’s drinking water. Currently, wastewater is either stored at drilling sites or transported via truck or train to treatment plants and wells.


As expected, this proposal isn’t sitting well with environmental groups. Environment New York has launched a petition demanding that the Coast Guard shoot down the proposal. PennEnvironment claims that the proposal is flawed because it lacks necessary environmental safeguards to protect drinking water.

What do you think? Is transporting wastewater by ship a bad call?

Image via National Geographic

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