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NEWS: 7 million litres of fracking wastewater put through Windsor, NS sewage treatment plant

CBC reports, “More than two years ago, Atlantic Industrial Services (AIS) asked Windsor (a town of 3,785 people in Hants County in western Nova Scotia) to dispose of fracking waste water. …(Now) questions are being raised after millions of litres of the water was put through the town’s sewage treatment plant. In an email, Windsor’s Director of Public Works Don Beatty told CBC that more than 7 million litres of the water was put through the Windsor’s sewage treatment plant between March 2010 and August 2011.”

The report says, “The water was processed and then pumped into the Minas Basin.” A local museum’s website notes, “Founded in 1685, this charming town was originally known as Pesaquid or ‘Junction of Waters’, a Mi’kmaq term that describes the way the nearby Avon and St. Croix rivers converge before flowing into the Minas Basin.”

The news article adds, “Ken Summers, a member of the Nova Scotia Fracking Resource and Action Coalition, (says), ‘Sewage treatment plants are not designed to be able to take out the kind of chemicals that are in fracking waste. They’re just not designed for it.'”

“Nova Scotia’s Minister of Environment Sterling Belliveau confirmed that the water was analyzed by a consultant and deemed safe, but it wasn’t tested for radioactivity. Belliveau said the consulant wasn’t aware of Nova Scotia’s geology but as soon as the department became aware of radioactive levels, it issued a stop order to the town. …Belliveau said even though the water was never tested for naturally occurring radioactive materials or NORMs, the levels were low. …(He added), ‘This is something that’s very complex and is something that Nova Scotians want to understand, including government. We have committed ourselves to having a thorough fracking review which will be completed in 2014.'”

The Village of Debert (in Colchester County) is located about 110 kilometres north-east of Windsor. In late-September, the Halifax Media Co-op reported that Colchester County Council has voted to “allow its municipal engineer to consider Atlantic Industrial Services’ application to dump ‘treated’ frack-wastewater down the Debert sewer system. The engineer’s recommendation, whatever it might be, can subsequently be opposed by council, and potentially reversed.”

That article also noted, “(AIS) is in possession of not only 4.5 million litres of waste water from (Triangle Petroleum’s) fracked wells in the Kennetcook area, but has also received approximately 11 million litres of fracked wastewater from (Corridor Resources Inc’s operations in) the Penobsquis area of New Brunswick… According to AIS, all of this water is being held in on-site lagoons. AIS’s Debert facility has a holding capacity of 35 million litres and claims that it has the technology to treat the 15.5 million litres of wastewater, which is currently considered a radioactive substance due to its elevated levels of Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials (NORM). These may include uranium, thorium and potassium, among other radioactive substances.”

On September 26, the Council of Canadians signed on to a submission by concerned citizens and organizations to Colchester County Council expressing concern about the application to dump fracking-wastewater in their sewer system. In late-2011, the Council of Canadians successfully opposed a plan that would have allowed fracking-polluted wastewater being discharged through a wastewater treatment plant in Niagara Falls, New York into the Niagara River.

The Council of Canadians ‘Don’t Frack With Our Water’ campaign page can be read at http://canadians.org/fracking.