OPINION: While Colchester Councillors may stop the dumping of fracking waste, the problem remains. What do we do with it?

The ongoing debate about dumping fracking fluid into municipal sewers that lead to water courses that lead to the Bay of Fundy are only addressing part this problem. In some cases storage ponds seem to have seeped into the ground while other problem fluids have disappeared through “midnight stealth”. More fluids are being generated and no solutions for disposal have been found that are satisfactory to a very suspicious public.

There are 2 issues as I see it:

1. PREVENTION OF FUTURE WASTE FLUID ACCUMULATION. This is, in my mind, the more urgent problem. While we are trying to resolve methods for getting rid of existing fracking fluids, we seem to be moving ahead with new wells and the creation of more waste fluids … even though we don’t really know the contents of these fluids, their impact on site specific locations, their impacts on ground water, or their geological impacts. But there is a solution. Back off from further development, focus on provincial use for those traditional wells that are now sending this valuable resource south or, soon perhaps, offshore as LNG. In the meantime examine alternate techniques for extraction. If there are none that are safe, then abandon the utilization of this gas and move to renewable alternatives. Heck we should be moving to renewables anyway!

2. DISPOSAL OF EXISTING WASTE. The Bay of Fundy has been under assault since the lumber industry started after the American Revolution. But since the 1950s there has been increasing pollution from industry, agriculture, forestry, cities, municipalities, brine line dumping, energy related assaults (particularly from the nuclear plant) and much more. And, I must say, I have come to understand that the average Maritimer doesn’t fully comprehend the fact that Fundy resources provide us with billions of dollars in revenues annually as well as thousands of sustainable jobs. The sad fact is, the Bay of Fundy cannot stand additional cumulative assaults. And fracking fluid represents such an assault. So how do we get rid of it? Well, revere osmosis may indeed be used to concentrate the pollutants and to provide suitable water for release. The problem is the public has lost faith in government and industry and, frankly, have no trust left. So testing needs to be turned over to third parties that are somehow approved by the citizens. If the fluid is safe to allow into a river system … so be it. But the concentrate from the treatment still has to be processed and that is a serious problem that nobody has addressed as yet. Chemical processes can bind and neutralize some pollutants. But again the results must be monitored by a third party, Other components of the concentrate will need to be locked away for a long, long time. This needs to be fully considered in consultation with the public, first nations, and property owners in the proposed locations.




Policy change would not apply to approval issued to AIS in December


The County of Colchester has approved, in-principle, a sewer-use policy change that would prevent the future disposal of fracking wastewater into the municipal system.

The policy change states “the municipality shall not accept any Hydraulic Fracturing wastewater into any of the municipal wastewater treatment facilities or public sewer systems.”

According to the Truro Daily News, it is expected to be ratified at a council meeting later this month.

However, the change will not apply to the approval issued last month to allow the sewer system disposal of treated fracking wastewater currently being stored in Debert.

The municipality has received 26 appeal submissions against that approval and our newsroom has been told they are being reviewed by the County’s appeal committee.

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