BRIDGEPORT, W. Va. – The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection has ordered the Meadowfill landfill in Bridgeport to stop accepting drilling sludge which was deemed too radioactive at one of the company’s dumps in Pennsylvania.
The sludge, totaling 12 tons, came from a Range Resources natural gas drilling operation in Pennsylvania.
Had the waste not been rejected by the Arden Landfill in Chartiers, Pa. — also operated by Waste Management — the WVDEP said it would not have acted.
“We received some lab reports and the lab reports indicated no levels of concern,” WVDEP spokesperson Kelly Gillenwater said. “However, we found out [Wednesday] that this same material had been rejected at a landfill in Pennsylvania because, apparently, some radiation detector there at the landfill registered a level of concern.”
The radiation was not detected by the landfill in Bridgeport because there was not extensive monitoring.
“That currently is not a requirement under West Virginia law,” Gillenwater said. “However, legislation was passed recently requiring the DEP to implement rules related to that and our agency is actually in the process right now of drafting rules related to that.”
The law requiring landfills to monitor radiation levels of drilling waste doesn’t go into effect until January 1, 2015, which allowed the Bridgeport site to collect the waste.
Officials from Range Resources maintain while the material does contain radiation, the levels are not unsafe.
“Our agency is still investigating,” Gillenwater said. “Once we get all the information, then we’ll make a determination of what to do going forward.”
Meadowfill landfill is prohibited from collecting more drilling waste until further notice.