Paper: drilling waste setting off radiation alarms

PITTSBURGH — Gas drilling waste is setting off more radiation alarms at Pennsylvania landfills.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that the alarms went off 1,325 times in 2012, with more than 1,000 of those from oil and gas waste, according to Department of Environmental Protection data.

DEP spokesman Kevin Sunday tells the paper that all the data so far indicates that public health is protected. After an alarm workers flag the waste for special treatment.

The state began requiring radiation monitors at landfills in 2002 because of medical waste. But oil and gas drilling brings up mineral fragments containing naturally occurring radiation.

DEP says past research has shown problems are unlikely. DEP started a review in January to examine radioactivity in drilling waste and on all the equipment that handles it.