NBASGA Wants Report on Frack Wastewater for Dieppe

13 08 2014
JAMES FOSTER TIMES & TRANSCRIPT

   DIEPPE • An anti-fracking network is awaiting clarification on the contents of wastewater before formulating a position on a proposal to dump flow-back from fracked wells into Dieppe’s sewer system.   “We have a whole laundry list of questions before we can ever decide,” Jim Emberger, spokesman for the New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance, says.   

 
A Nova Scotia company has proposed trucking wastewater from fracking operations in that province to Dieppe, where the wastes would be disposed of in city sewers. About 100 people showed up at a city council meeting on Monday night with concerns over the plan, which is in its initial stages needed for provincial approval.   Emberger points out that the ingredients of the liquids used in fracking are usually a tightly held trade secret.   “I don’t think there’s anywhere where there is fracking where that’s not the case,”he said Tuesday.   It makes it tough to form an opinion on what to do with the wastewater when you don’t know what’s in it, he said.   “If we don’t know what the substances are, how can we test for them?”Em-berger asks.   
 
The company proposing to dispose of the wastewater in Dieppe described it as being treated to almost drinking-water quality when company officials were lobbying to dispose of it in a municipal sewer system in Nova Scotia. The company lost that bid when the municipal council involved turned them down.   “So if it’s cleaned up, then why won’t they just do it in Nova Scotia?”Emberger asks.   The alliance hopes all of their questions will be answered in the environmental impact assessment that the company, Atlantic Industrial Services, has embarked upon, and if not then they hope the company itself will be forthcoming. The vice-president in charge of that file has been out of town since last week and was not available on Tuesday.   
 
The City of Dieppe hasn’t given an outright“no”to the proposal, but that’s because they haven’t even had the request put before them at this early stage of a lengthy permitting process.   “They have not spoken to us,” Mayor Yvon Lapierre said.   “So we’re waiting to see the results of the EIA and we’ll go from there.”   AIS did contact Dieppe to enquire about what Dieppe bylaws allow and don’t allow in its sewer system but hasn’t ask for permission to put anything in it. It says in its EIA filings that it believes the wastewater complies with municipal bylaws.   
 
Even though the city has not been asked for permission, they could issue a pre-emptive no, but Lapierre said city council will learn all it can about the proposal and then make a decision based on facts, not on emotion or on politics.   “We will let the process work its way through”Lapierre said.   AIS wants to truck the wastewater from holding tanks in Debert, N.S., to storage tanks to be built in the Dieppe Industrial Park. The company is also in the process of applying for a modification to its operating permit, which it received when it leased an existing facility in the industrial park that already has an operating permit,that would allow it to then dump the wastewater over time into the municipal sewer system,which flows from Dieppe through Moncton and then into a treatment centre in Riverview, which releases its wastewater into the Petitcodiac River.   
 
AIS believes it will be able to discharge up to 30 million litres over two years of continuous, controlled release The fracking waters would not be treated in Dieppe because it has already been treated in Nova Scotia. The holding tanks would be merely to allow for the controlled release of the wastewater.   AIS parent company Envirosystems Inc.’s largest frack-water holding facility, in Debert, holds about 15 million litres of the grey water. The company has stored another 20 million litres elsewhere in the province. Ironically, at least some of the initial Debert wastewater came from fracking operations in New Brunswick, though the firm says the New Brunswick fracking wastewater has since been disposed of.   
 
There are no treatment sites in New Brunswick for flowback waters from fracking sites. Previously, flowback water from New Brunswick shale gas wells was trucked to Debert. New regulations developed by the province in anticipation of a shale gas industry call for building a treatment site for industry wastewater.   
 
NAfter treatment to federal standards flowback waters contain mostly salty water with low-level naturally occurring radioactivity, but the concern of some groups and residents is that it is not clear to them what other substances might be in water even after the treatment process because usually the ingredients that make up fracking liquids, and often even the treatment process that follows its use, is proprietary information and tightly held trade secrets.
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