Stop Dumping Toxic Fracking Waste on City Streets

Target: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio

Goal: Stop the use of contaminated water to ‘clean’ streets.

Brine, a byproduct of hydraulic fracturing, is being used to treat city streets for ice and clean dusty roads. This water, which is supposed to be processed and treated, is instead being offered by fracking companies to cities to ‘clean’ with. In many cases, such as in New York City, the brine is used as a means to cut costs because the waste water is available for free.

Cost cutting would be fine, if the brine wasn’t heavy in pollutants that could violate the Clean Water Act by contaminating surface water and soil after it washes off the streets. There is also the matter of animals exposed to this waste by walking, landing or eating off of a road. Not to mention that this uncleaned water will evaporate into our atmosphere and inevitably rain down again. Organizations such as the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) believe that all waste water from fracking contains pollutants and naturally occurring radioactive material that is dangerous to the environment and humans. In many states, such as Vermont, the use of fracking waste is banned due to the potential health hazards it poses. The Environmental Protection Agency has advised against using any type of fracking waste water on streets for these very reasons. Yet in New York, among others cities, its use still persists.

Much of the reason this continues is that a majority of people simply don’t know it’s being done. So please, help impress upon Mayor Bill de Blasio that such practices aren’t acceptable. Despite the fact that this method is cheaper than scraping ice or laying salt, it endangers our already suffering environment. It also encourages fracking industries to continue to shirk their responsibility and not appropriately dispose of their waste.


Dear Mayor de Blasio,

While it is understandable to try and save money by seeking out more cost-efficient ways of handling icy or dusty roads, those avenues should not endanger the health of people and animals. The waste water from fracking, while effective, poses a major problem due to pollutants. It is suspected that radioactive materials are in the brine New York is spreading on its roads.

Please consider how using this waste on the roads will affect the health of New York’s citizens and stop using it to treat and clean roads. In the end, the level of danger it poses far outweighs the money saved to avoid purchasing salt or scraping ice from the roads.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Simon Wheeler

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  1. Heather Brophy says:


  2. Sitting here on a cold snowy morn over a steaming cup of coffee, I just realized that this was probably the “salt” liquid they used on our city streets a day or 2 ago…all city offices closed today as this “winter precipitation event” (new speak”for ice/snow blizzard conditions is leaving us quiet and whitened…city county road offices and environmental health are my “to do” list for Monday!

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