Have Pittsburgh's problems with lead in drinking water been exacerbated by fracking?

excerpts of news story:

"By 2010, the [Pittsburgh] water agency was struggling with what seemed like an invasion of cancer-causing chemicals called trihalomethanes, formed when salty fracking wastewater came into contact with treated drinking water. In an effort to reduce brominated trihalomethanes, the PWSA dropped chlorine levels, one of several factors Stanley States, the director of water quality at PWSA until 2014, believes led to increased lead levels.

In 2012, the struggling agency brought in Veolia North America, a French corporation, to manage the city’s water supply. The same company is being sued in Michigan for allegedly failing to warn officials about lead risks to Flint’s water.

After Veolia took over management of the city’s water, the chemical used to control corrosion of metals, such as lead, was changed. Typically, it takes months for a water department to change corrosion control methods, because changes can cause lead spikes. ...

Instead, PWSA changed the corrosion control to save money in violation of state law. ... Pittsburgh’s mayor, William Peduto, blamed Veolia for the chemical change, and said the city and water board were not informed. ...

And under Veolia’s management, PWSA’s new executive director, James Good, a longtime Veolia employee and former private water lobbyist, became the second-highest paid public employee in the region. He earned $240,000 a year with generous benefits. ...

Unlike in Flint, Michigan, where sudden changes in water chemistry caused a spike, lead levels in Pittsburgh’s tap water rose steadily for 12 years, alongside cancer-causing chemicals from fracking waste.

By 2013, 14.8 parts per billion of lead were found in tap water, teetering on the edge of the federal limit of 15 parts per billion.That level is meant to warn water authorities that methods to control pipe corrosion are not working. Pittsburgh blew past 15 parts per billion in its most recent tests.

There is no safe level of lead. In childhood, exposure diminishes IQ and can lead to behavioral and developmental problems."



related: earlier thread: "Did Flint's water become poisoned because of political favors to frackers?":


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Not sure why this article is even here - there's no lead in frack water, none used in the completion process and Pittsburgh itself doesn't allow drilling.

It sounds like the "excerpts" Paul picked were designed to falsely implicate drilling in Pittsburgh's lead problem. Which is sad - lead in drinking water is a serious health issue and shouldn't be used to get attention for other issues.

Thank You Jack. I can't bring myself to replying to any of his posts anymore.

Like you said, it is a shame that his energies aren't put behind true problems that affect real people instead of might be, may be , could be, we don't know but it is probably caused by fracking.

There has been so much light put on the oil and gas industry in the last decade or so that the few bad apples are becoming fewer and fewer.

Now if we could figure out a way to weed out the bad politicians and public officials...


The reason it's here is that Paul deals in fear mongering.

He doesn't care if there is no basis in fact as to what he posts.

His only hope is that he will instill fear into the minds of those who are not well informed.

Jack: perhaps you missed these two sentences of The Guardian article (at the beginning of my post):

"By 2010, the [Pittsburgh] water agency was struggling with what seemed like an invasion of cancer-causing chemicals called trihalomethanes, formed when salty fracking wastewater came into contact with treated drinking water. In an effort to reduce brominated trihalomethanes, the PWSA dropped chlorine levels, one of several factors Stanley States, the director of water quality at PWSA until 2014, believes led to increased lead levels."

Does it help if I spell out the causation implied by the Guardian reporter?

1. frack wastewater dumped in rivers upstream of Pittsburgh

2. frack wastewater getting into Pittsburgh water supply causes dangerous increase in trihalomethanes around 2010 (bromides present in frack wastewater react with chlorine added for water treatment to form trihalomethanes)

3. PWSA dropped chlorine levels in its water treatment in order to reduce cancer-causing trihalomethanes in Pittsburgh drinking water

4. reduced chlorine levels (and other factors) result in increased corrosion of old lead water supply pipes in some Pittsburgh neighborhoods, exposing the lead

5. lead levels in Pittsburgh drinking water rise, and reach the danger level

It is well documented that lead in drinking water (nationwide) is directly related to the fact that the water pipes carrying the water are lead based. This is what happened in Flint, MI and Sebring, OH. If the proper PH is not maintained in the water the lead from the pipes leaches into the water. Nothing to do with "fracking waste".

As for trihalomethanes; Much of this issue has to due with ever changing EPA drinking water standards, not "fracking waste". Many if not all water treatment agencies across the country are dealing with this over regulation issue, even in areas where there is no "fracking". In an attempt to deal with the EPA regulations many water systems turned to increased chlorination. In fact the PWSA increased it's chlorine levels to deal with this issue.

But, increased trihalomethanses are a byproduct of the water treatment process usually due to over chlorination, and has nothing to do with "fracking waste". Google it if you don't believe me.

The issue with water quality in Pittsburgh has nothing to do with "fracking waste". I challenge anyone, including you Paul, to produce the studies which link the issues in Pittsburgh to "fracking waste". I believe the response will be crickets since those studies do not exist,.

Of course Paul will not produce those studies because Paul is a fraud. He continually posts this type of mis-information hoping to instill fear into the minds of the uniformed.

Well, now you are informed.

Here is a Source Water Assessment from the water company that provides water to Pittsburgh.

Notice where the "salt comes from.

Potential Sources
of Contamination
of Concern
Transportation corridors, bridges, railroads
Metals, turbidity, SOCs
Road deicing and potential for spills along roads, bridges, railroads
Boating, Marinas, Barge Traffic
Petroleum products, oil, coal
Accidental release/spill
Auto repair shops
MTBE, BTEX, Metals
Disposal of products/byproducts
Utility substations
Heavy metals, SOCs, VOCs
Accidents near water source
Road Deicing, Salt Storage
Sodium chloride
Runoff from storage areas, application of salt on roads
Combined Sewer Outfalls, wildcat sewers
Pathogens, bacteria, viruses, nutrients
Raw sewage entering water source
Residential Developments
Nitrates/Nitrites, pathogens, VOCs, SOCs, nutrients, pesticides, herbicide
Stormwater runoff, lawn care, on-lot waste disposal, golf courses
Power plants
Heavy metals
Waste piles
As indicated above, transportation corridors, boating, barge traffic, salt storage, auto repair, utility substations, power plants, combined sewer outfalls, and runoff from non-point sources such as residential developments, farms and abandoned mines are the most significant potential sources of contamination within the watersheds that contribute water to the Monongahela River intakes. Roads, railroads and bridges receive a high ranking due to the locations (near streams and reservoirs) and possible release of a variety of substances from accidents. The boating permitted on the Monongahela River could yield cumulative amounts of petroleum products entering the source water in a short amount of time, as well as barge traffic which adds the potential for coal and oil contamination. Auto repair shops also pose a threat of releasing petroleum products such as BTEX and MTBE. The list also includes CSO and stormwater discharges in the Pittsburgh area. They were given an “A” ranking because of the large quantities of untreated water that can be conveyed through these systems. During the course of a storm, many contaminants can be picked up from industrial facilities and streets. Pesticides and herbicides can come from golf courses, field croplands, and lawns. In addition, many communities have combined sewers that transport raw sewage with storm water that can result in raw sewage going directly into the river by way of a combined sewer overflow, (CSO) without treatment during heavy rain events.
Source Water

These posts are ridiculous. First, no fracking waste water is allowed to be dumped in any river or stream or taken to any sewage treatment plant. That was stopped 7-8 years and all disposal of waste water must be documented. If anyone would try dumping it in the rivers it would show up in testing of samples.

What is truly bothersome is that clowns like Paul are posting these articles on websites everywhere. When he posts here many people point out all the flaws and deceptions. But in other outlets, there are not people to debunk these fallacies.  When Paul posts this garbage here and it is debunked, does he go to other sites and correct the record?

Is there a way to sue people for maliciously posting information they know is wrong? They are doing great damage to companies, landowners, employees, and energy consumers....which is everyone. And they cause great damage by having people scared to death and greatly increasing their stress levels.  I know an anti-fracker that is obsessed with stopping all drilling.  She looks much older than she looked just five years ago. The stress is really taking a toll on her.

Paul is probably a "useful idiot" and may not realize how he is being used by the powers that be.  He probably thinks he is doing a good thing.  But it is problematic that his posts are constantly debunked yet he soldiers on. One would think he would eventually realize he needs to look at the data better and fully understand the issues.


Once his posts have been debunked I have repeatedly asked Paul to acknowledge such.

To date he has not had the decency to do so.

You mention the woman you know who is anti drilling. I know many of similar people. Sadly misinformation posted by people such as Paul has them "beside" themselves. They believe that danger to their well being is imminent. People such as Paul are very unkind and uncaring.

Sadly we can't be on every site where this misinformation is posted.

Finally, I have stated over and over that Paul doesn't even read the articles etc. that he posts. As you point out it is illegal to dump oil and gas waste into the waters of PA, although it use to be legal to dispose of some frac water and production water in the past. As you state, that was many years ago. The statement in the article Paul posted was from 2010.

Further, the article clearly states that the issues with lead and trialomethane was being caused by the chemical treatment of the water by PWSA.

In other words Paul didn't read the article otherwise he would know that the title of his post was false. The issues that PWSA is dealing with have nothing to do with "fracking waste".

Of course you could look at it another way, Paul knew the truth and posted anyway, which would make his post a lie.

I'm sure that there are lots of old lead pipes in the water system. Pipes disintegrate over time.


That is the point.

In many cities around the country the water lines are lead based pipes. Pittsburgh, PA and Flint, MI  are good examples. a

Sadly the people that run the water systems and the people in city and county government know this. These people also know the issues with regard to lead pipes. In particular, unless the water is properly treated lead from the pipes will leach into the water those pipes carry.

Unfortunately,  these government officials have ignored this issue because of the cost and true remedy - replacing the pipes.

This issue has nothing to do with fracking waste, this post is false and I suspect the person that posted it knows that. He doesn't care because his purpose is not to inform but to create fear.

The true criminals here are the government officials who will not bite the bullet and do what is right - replace the pipes.

If the person who placed this post truly cared about the water quality in Pittsburgh he would direct his efforts towards the true criminals. But he won't. He does not care about the people who must use the lousy water in Pittsburgh.

BTW Paul you owe us all an apology. I'm not holding my breath.


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