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Radioactive Salt Brine on Roads?

Updated: Oct 19, 2020

An FOMR member sent us the following email over the winter in early 2020, and we thought we’d let you know what we found out. He wrote:


“Did you see the story in Rolling Stones Magazine about did you see this story yesterday [about radioactive brines being used to treat roads for dust and deicing?]

https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-features/oil-gas-fracking-radioactive-investigation-937389/

Makes me wonder where Staunton sources the liquid in its salt trucks that go out before a winter storm.”


FOMR board member Wayne Nolde, who is retired from the Virginia Department of Transportation VDOT, looked into our local sources of road brine and reports the following:

Staunton buys their brine from Houff Trucking in Weyers Cave who makes it with salt bought from Cargill. Waynesboro makes their brine from salt currently obtained from MidAtlantic Salt Company.

VDOT buys brine from Houff Trucking in this area. Other districts have other sources. VDOT's Staunton District Hazardous Materials Manager was aware of the brine from gas wells in the past but had not thought about it recently in light of the greater volume of brine available now. He is going to remind the VDOT state hazmat manager of the issue.

To summarize, the no one is currently testing the brine for anything but salt content.

Here is a link to additional information about Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials

https://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/safety-and-security/radiation-and-health/naturally-occurring-radioactive-materials-norm.aspx

https://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/fs-0142-99/


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