WIN! New Brunswick to ban dumping fracked-wastewater in municipal wastewater systems

Council of Canadians organizer Angela Giles and campaigner Emma Lui worked with residents in local communities and called on people to contact the New Brunswick government to reject any proposals to release fracking waste.

New Brunswick intends to ban the dumping of fracking wastewater at municipal wastewater facilities!

This evening, CBC reports, "The New Brunswick government is taking steps to ban municipalities from disposing of wastewater from hydraulic fracturing. Environment Minister Serge Roussel and Resource Development Minister Rick Doucet announced Monday the provincial government will introduce legislative amendments to enact the ban, which will also apply to regional municipalities, rural communities, wastewater commissions and the provincial government. The change will also prevent wastewater from hydraulic fracturing in other jurisdictions from being imported into New Brunswick for disposal."

The Council of Canadians has long opposed fracking and the dumping of fracking wastewater into municipal systems in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

Debert, NS
Between September 2012 and May 2013, we campaigned against a proposal by Atlantic Industrial Services to dump 4.5 million litres of ‘treated’ frack-wastewater down the sewer system of the town of Debert in Colchester County, NS. We blogged on this issue, signed a joint submission by citizens and organizations to Colchester County Council opposing the plan, sent appeals to the County Council after they approved the plan, sent a letter to the Nova Scotia minister of the environment, Atlantic organizer Angela Giles presented at a public hearing held by the Sewer Use Appeal Committee, and we even mobilized US groups to oppose the plan. By May 2013, Colchester had rejected the plan to dump the wastewater into their sewer system.

Amherst, NS
Then in November 2014 we campaigned against the Town of Amherst, NS accepting 30 million litres of fracking wastewater to be disposed through their wastewater system which is situated near the Tantramar Marshes and LaPlanche River. We encouraged our supporters in the area to attend a public meeting on the matter, we posted the names and email addresses of the six Amherst town councillor would would make the final decision, and Giles spent hours on the telephone with Amherst residents upset about the proposal. Given the strong public response, the town mayor and council decided to immediately stop negotiations with the company.

Dieppe, NB
Around that same time, Atlantic Industrial Services had also proposed that the Town of Dieppe, NB accept 30 million litres of 'treated' frack-wastewater into its sewer system. On October 30, 2014, CBC reported, "The company is seeking approval to ship three tanker truck loads of wastewater every day, five days a week, for two years from its facility in Debert, NS." At that time, our then Halifax-based organizer Tori Ball noted, "Our Moncton chapter was active in sharing information between Dieppe and Amherst, helping to create unity between the communities."

Saint John, NB
And in December 2014, the Mayor of Saint John, NB considered accepting fracking wastewater from Atlantic Industrial Services to be dumped into the Saint John wastewater system. On December 3, 2014, Giles, water campaigner Emma Lui, and Saint John chapter activist Andrew Graham wrote the mayor in opposition to this plan highlighting: “We do not wish for Saint John or other Bay of Fundy coastal communities to become a testing ground for the long-term implications of what might be considered treated fracking waste.” That plan also did not move forward.

In January 2015, we issued this action alert that highlighted, "Fracking wastewater is a critical reason why communities around the world are calling for a ban on fracking. We commend the Nova Scotia and New Brunswick governments for committing to a moratorium on fracking, but there is still the outstanding issue of existing fracking waste, which if disposed of in municipal wastewater system poses a threat to communities, local watersheds and the Bay of Fundy. Email your MLA, provincial environment minister and the federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans now and ask them to reject any proposals to release fracking waste."

The Council of Canadians is pleased that the New Brunswick government now says it will introduce provisions in the Clean Water Act that would prohibit fracking wastewater to be disposed at any municipal wastewater facility as well as ensure that fracking wastewater cannot be imported into the province for disposal.

We congratulate everyone who worked hard to secure this significant win for water protection.