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Amherst, NS to vote on fracked wastewater on November 10

Town of Amherst councillors

L-R: George Baker; Frank Balcom; Robert Bird; Lisa Emery; David March; Terry Rhindress

The Council of Canadians opposes the plan to move truckloads of fracked wastewater on the TransCanada Highway to be disposed of through the Amherst wastewater system which is situated near the Tantramar Marshes and the LaPlanche River.

The Chronicle-Herald reports, “The Town of Amherst has signed a letter of intent to dispose of treated fracking water through its waste-water system. At a special meeting Thursday [October 30], council voted to accept the water, which will be treated to meet Canadian drinking water guidelines by Atlantic Industrial Services of Debert.”

Amherst is located in Cumberland County and is about three kilometres east of the border with New Brunswick. It is located on the northeast end of the Cumberland Basin, an arm of the Bay of Fundy. It is located about 88 kilometres north-east of Debert via the Trans-Canada Highway.

Amherst News highlights, “If accepted, the water … will be pumped in 30,000 litre truckloads into the outfall into the LaPlanche River and the Bay of Fundy.”

The Annapolis County Spectator notes, “Deputy Mayor George Baker asked if the town will be able to have samples collected to guarantee the water has been fully treated. [Amherst chief administrative officer Greg] Herrett said the town will have the right to have a staff person on hand when the water is loaded in Debert and before it’s dumped into the treatment facility.”

The Chronicle-Herald article adds, “Council will vote on whether to give final agreement to the deal at a special meeting Nov. 10 [at 7 pm]. …If ratified, the town stands to make up to $500,000 over two years by accepting the water generated from the fracking of several test wells in [Kennetcook] Hants County in 2007-08.”

Prior to the November 10 vote, the town of Amherst will hold an open house to answer questions from the public. The Council of Canadians encourages its supporters in Cumberland County to attend this meeting to express their opposition to the plan. The open house will take place today from 4 to 6:30 pm at the Amherst Fire Hall on 62 Albion Street.

Questions that could be posed include:

  • How many truckloads will be transported into Amherst?

  • What follow-up testing will be conducted to ensure the safety of the marsh and river?

  • How will the Amherst staff person determine if the water has been ‘fully treated’?

  • What are the qualifications of that staff person to do so?

  • Are the guidelines for the ‘treated’ wastewater strict enough to protect local water sources?

  • Will the dumping of fracked wastewater harm Amherst as a destination for local tourism and fishing?

The Tantramar Alliance against Hydrofracking plans to be at this open house.

Between September 2012 and May 2013, the Council of Canadians campaigned against a similar proposal from 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. In that situation, the Sewer Use Appeals Committee for the Municipality of Colchester unanimously decided against accepting the wastewater.

Further reading
WIN! Colchester rejects dumping frack-wastewater in their sewer system

The six town councillors who will make the decision on November 10.