Letter to the editor: Radioactive Slippery Rock creek?

Published by , Date: April 3, 2023

Did you know that Slippery Rock Creek could one day be radioactive?

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) gave a permit to the Tri-County Landfill in Grove City on March 10 to dump radioactive leachate from the landfill into Black Run, which flows into Wolf Creek, which then goes into Slippery Rock Creek.

The landfill was given a permit to bring in radioactive fracking waste in 2020, but the Citizens’ Environmental Association of the Slippery Rock Area (CEASRA, Inc.), along with Liberty Township, is appealing to overturn this permit.

The oil and gas industry in Pennsylvania has created a large amount of radioactive fracking waste in the last few years. The Marcellus shale, which is currently being drilled, has one of the highest levels of naturally occurring radon in the nation.

In addition, some drillers add uranium and other harmful chemicals to the fracking fluid, which at great pressure is used to “frack” the underground rock, releasing the profitable gas.

In response, the PA legislators and the DEP have allowed fracking waste to be taken to municipal landfills throughout the state.

Vogel Holdings, Inc., which owns the currently closed Tri-County Landfill, also owns Seneca Landfill in Butler County, where SRU garbage is dumped.

According to the DEP’s own 2016 TENORM study, Seneca Landfill is among the top nine in the state for the volume of radioactive waste received. That report also documented that the DEP is allowing Seneca Landfill to dump radioactive leachate directly in the Connoquenessing Creek.

Leachate is the liquid that is created after rainwater percolates through a landfill. The level of radium-226 dumped into the creek was 118 picocuries per liter. The drinking water limit for radium-226 is 5 picocuries per liter. Somebody downstream is drinking that water.

What can you do about this? Check out the CEASRA website and join. You can also follow them on Facebook at “No Trash Mountain.”

You can also attend for free a climate conference that will be held at SRU from March 30 to March 31. Join regional environmental groups to help unify, strengthen, and strategize our efforts to protect our waters, ground and air. Register online for free.


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