House Democrats raised concerns today as Republican-sponsored House Bill (HB) 393 passed the House. The bill would allow one Ohio company to sell brine from certain oil and gas production to Ohio consumers for personal use. Democrats questioned the impact the sale and use of radioactive brine would have on health and the environment.
“This brine is chemical, industrial waste, and according to ODNR’s own study, poses a risk to our health and our environment if applied improperly,” said Minority Leader Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton). “Without any safeguards on the use of this product, the consequences could be severe.”
A recent Ohio Department of Natural Resources study found radium levels in tested brine far exceeded the state’s “discharge to the environment limits,” which could pose significant health and environmental risks.
“The limited quantities being sold now, when tested, came back with carcinogen levels hundreds of times higher than EPA limits,” added Strahorn. “This product, no matter how effective at treating snow and ice, should not be on the shelves of Ohio retailers, plain and simple.”
A small amount of brine products have been commercially available in Ohio since 2004, and nine of Ohio’s Department of Transportation districts used similar products to de-ice roads last winter. HB 393 categorizes the product as a commodity, which would allow it to be applied to roads and sidewalks without supervision to prevent runoff into the environment and Ohio waterways.
After passing the House, the bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.