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Levels were consistent with normal background radioactivity levels
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced the results of in-stream water quality monitoring for radioactive material in seven of Pennsylvania’s rivers. All samples showed levels at or below the normal naturally occurring background levels of radioactivity.
The tests were conducted in November and December 2010 at stations downstream of wastewater treatment plants that accept flowback and production water from Marcellus Shale drilling.
"We deal in facts based on sound science," said DEP Acting Secretary Michael Krancer. "Here are the facts: all samples were at or below background levels of radioactivity; and all samples showed levels below the federal drinking water standard for radium-226 and -228."
Krancer said that these sampling stations were installed last fall specifically to monitor stream quality for potential impacts of Marcellus development. He explained that the water tested is the raw water in the river before it enters public water suppliers' intakes, where the water receives further treatment.
The river testing stations that were evaluated are the Monongahela at Charleroi in Allegheny County; South Fork Ten Mile Creek in Greene County; Conemaugh in Indiana County; Allegheny at Kennerdell in Venango County; Beaver in Beaver County; Tioga in Tioga County; and the West Branch of the Susquehanna in Lycoming County.