Over 9 billion
gallons of hazardous waste are injected underground every year.
Underground Toxic Waste Fact Sheet
- Over 9 billion gallons of hazardous waste are injected every year.
- Over 2 billion gallons of brine from oil and gas operations are injected
underground every day.
- Billions of gallons of automotive, industrial, sanitary and other
wastes are injected underground every year.
- There are 173 hazardous waste injection wells in the US.
- There are hundreds of thousands of oil and gas waste disposal wells
in the US.
- EPA has five classifications of underground injection wells. Two
of those types of wells pose the greatest threat to human health, groundwater
and property values. They are:
- Class I injection wells that dispose of hazardous waste from
the chemical industry.
- Class II injections wells that dispose of oil and gas industry
oil and gas wastes contain benzene, pit sludge, various forms
of hydrocarbons and many other dangerous components, Congress
has exempted oil and gas waste from classification as hazardous.
Thus EPA has almost no authority to regulate oil and gas drilling
wastes even though it is the federal oversight agency responsible
for protection of most groundwater.
- Scientific studies by the USGS in Oklahoma and Texas State University
in Texas show that oil and gas drilling wastes injected underground
have likely polluted aquifers.
- Hazardous waste injection facilities have repeatedly been implicated
in groundwater, soil and air contaminations.
- Serious health problems resulting from groundwater contamination
from injection wells have been reported in five states.
- There are instances of groundwater pollution from underground
waste dumping in every investigated state where there are injection
- Property values routinely plummet in the vicinity of injection wells.
- There are viable and successful alternatives to underground dumping
such as bioremediation and waste reduction.
By Vicki Wolf
Unless you are living in a
bubble, you are accumulating a “body
burden” of toxic pollution. Body burden measures pollution in people.
Many of the 85,000 registered synthetic chemicals in the environment
contribute to body burden. Few of them have been tested for safety. And
many of these chemicals are toxic, and they don’t go away. They
accumulate and remain in the tissue of humans, animals and other ecosystems
for a long time.
of toxins increases the risk for diseases such as cancer. It also contributes
to abnormalities in brain development and in reproductive systems. The Mt.
Sinai School of Medicine and the Environmental Working Group found a total
of 167 synthetic chemicals when they did a test called biomonitoring with a
group of nine volunteers, who do not work with chemicals on the job and do
not live near an industrial facility. Of the 167 chemicals found, 76 cause
cancer, 94 are toxic to the brain and nervous system, and 79 cause birth defects
or abnormal development.
your body burden:
- Eat organically grown foods.
- Check the labels of soaps, lotions and shampoos to avoid using toxic
chemicals on your body.
- Don’t use pesticides,
solvents and other toxic substances in your home or garden.
- If you have a choice, avoid living near freeways, incinerators, chemical
plants and refineries.
- Drive less and choose renewable sources of electricity when available.
more information, check www.cleanhouston.org,
the website for CLEAN, Citizens League for Environmental Action Now.
Adapted from EarthCare Radio, courtesy of CLEAN (Citizens League
for Environmental Action Now