HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) – Pennsylvania state officials say results for the first two months of testing show no radioactive contamination of water in Pennsylvania waterways located in the Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling region.

The New York Times recently reported that wastewater from natural gas extraction that is sometimes hauled to sewage plants not designed to treat it “contains radioactivity at levels higher than previously known.”
Department of Environmental Protection spokeswoman Katie Gresh says the first tests for radiation in seven Pennsylvania waterways downstream from treatment plants that accept flowback and production water from Marcellus Shale drilling were done in November and December.

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“All samples were either at or below background levels of radioactivity, meaning they are below the standards of concern for federal drinking water,” she told KYW Newsradio.

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Among the rivers tested were the Allegheny, Monongahela, and west branch of the Susquehanna River.

During a confirmation hearing last week, the DEP secretary nominee said he was considering more testing in light of the Times article (see related story).

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Reported by KYW Harrisburg Bureau chief Tony Romeo.