University of Pittsburgh

May 20, 2013

Energy future may be swamped in fracking wastewater, scientists warn

Source:, May 16, 2013
By: John Roach

The current boom in U.S. natural gas production from glassy shale rock formations is poised to usher in an era of energy independence and could bridge the gap between today’s fossil-fuel age and a clean-energy future. But that future may be swamped in a legacy of wastewater, a new study suggests.

Natural gas production is soaring thanks to hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, a technique that shoots several million gallons of water laced with chemicals and sand deep underground to break apart chunks of the glassy rock, freeing trapped gas to escape through cracks and fissures into wells.

An average of 10 percent of this water flows back to the surface within a few weeks of the frack job. The rest is absorbed by the surrounding rock and mixes with briny groundwater, explained Radisav Vidic, a civil and environmental engineer at the University of Pittsburgh.

“What happens to that water is a very good question,” he told NBC News. “We would like to know how much of it stays in the shale, and for how long, and is there a potential for migration away from the well.”

Vidic led a review study of the scientific literature looking into these questions, which is published in Thursday’s issue of the journal Science.…

March 28, 2011

Resident: Gas-spill settlement unfair

Source:, March 24,2011
By: Kent Jackson

A machine still filters groundwater where gasoline seeped into a Hazleton neighborhood nearly two decades ago, triggering a $25 million cleanup and lawsuits that ended this week.

By Wednesday, most of the 258 families hadn’t heard the terms of the settlements reached two days before in their suits against ExxonMobil.

One who had, Matilda Degilio, said she expected to receive $1,500, of which $500 would go to the Locks Law Firm that represented the families.

“It’s a big company, that Exxon. We’re only going to get $1,000, and that’s not fair,” said Degilio, who spoke with one of her attorneys on Tuesday.

Locks Law Firm said it would release a statement about the case Wednesday, but had not done so as of Wednesday afternoon.…

March 17, 2011

Petersen architects owe Pitt $5.9 million

Source: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, February 17, 2011
By: Chris Ramirez

Two architecture firms must pay $5.9 million to the University of Pittsburgh for problems stemming from bad heating and air conditioning work in the Petersen Events Center, an Allegheny County judge ruled.

Common Pleas Judge Joseph M. James ruled last month after a nonjury¬†trial that Apostolou Associates/Rosser International Inc. breached its contract with the school and failed to perform its work “with due care and in a manner that met the applicable standard of care” during the arena’s construction, court documents say.

Apostolou¬†Associates/Rosser International is the name of a joint venture of Apostolou Associates, in Mt. Washington, and Atlanta-based Rosser International Inc. They worked together to install the on-campus arena’s heating, ventilating and air conditioning system, and are asking for a new trial.…