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NEWS: Niagara Falls water utility plan to treat fracking fluid threatens the Great Lakes

The City of Niagara Falls, New York

The City of Niagara Falls, New York

WGRZ News in New York State “has confirmed the Niagara Falls Water Board is moving forward with plans to treat ‘fracking fluid’ at its wastewater treatment plant following a feasibility study performed by an outside firm.”

Niagara Falls is situated on the Niagara River, which drains Lake Erie into Lake Ontario.

“The board’s plans, first reported in late-July, were to investigate the possibility of treating the fluid, which is a toxic byproduct of hydraulic fracturing to extract natural gas from the Marcellus Shale. Through a statement, the Board confirmed its study is completed and it is moving forward with the project: Although the Niagara Falls Water Board has not advocated for drilling in the Marcellus Shale, should the State of New York allow drilling to proceed, and our wastewater treatment plant meet all requirements and regulations as set forth by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the Niagara Falls Water Board potentially offers a solution to effectively and safely treat wastewater produced from drilling and would help mitigate concerns about impacts on public health and safety and the environment.”

Brian Smith of the Citizens Campaign for the Environment says, “Fracking waste can contain toxic chemicals, radioactivity, and be five-times saltier than seawater. The Niagara Falls sewage treatment facility is ill-equipped to properly treat hazardous fracking waste. Allowing this would risk the discharge of toxic, radioactive, and caustic waste into our fragile Great Lakes ecosystem.” And Rita Yelda of WNY Drilling Defense says, “If this fracking waste is not treated correctly, it could contaminate our water. It’s a potential risk.” The article notes that she encourages “the public to attend the Niagara Falls Water Board’s next public meeting, which is scheduled for 5 p.m. on September 22.”

“Fracking has caused controversy across the Marcellus Shale states due to concerns about contaminated water due to the drilling and extraction processes. New York State’s moratorium on hydraulic fracturing continues; however, it is expected to end late this year or next.”