Earlier this week, the Chronicle-Herald reported, “The Nova Scotia government tabled legislation on Monday that will ban the importation of fracking waste water. During a bill briefing earlier in the day, Environment Minister Randy Delorey said the move is in response to the clear sentiment of Nova Scotians that they don’t want the waste from hydraulic fracturing operations in other provinces brought here.” We support this bill and Atlantic organizer Angela Giles was there to hear it introduced into the Legislature.
Then the Globe and Mail noted, “Delorey said the Environment Department is currently trying to deal with waste water from shale gas exploration in Kennetcook six years ago. He said the department should be ready soon to announce what it will do with waste water contained in ponds in Debert and Kennetcook.”
And now this morning, CBC reports, “The Nova Scotia government is considering a proposal that could help get rid of waste water from the hydraulic fracturing or fracking process. The Lafarge cement plant in Brookfield has applied to use the water in its cement-making.”
“There are an estimated 27 million litres of fracking waste water in Nova Scotia. Some of it contains so-called Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials (NORMs). Fracking waste water is stored at the Atlantic Industrial Services (AIS) facility in Debert, as well as in holding ponds in Kennetcook and Noel. Delorey (says) that all fracking waste water being stored in Debert has had NORMs removed to meet acceptible Canadian standards.”
A Halifax Media Co-op report has noted AIS has 4.5 million litres of wastewater from Triangle Petroleum’s fracking operations in the Kennetcook area and about 11 million litres of fracked wastewater from Corridor Resources Inc’s operations in the Penobsquis area. This water is being held in on-site lagoons.
CBC adds, “Delorey said his department has received an application for the pilot project, but so far no decision has been made. …(But) Delorey also said the department has not flagged any environmental concerns about using the fracking waste water in the cement process.”
Between March 2010 and August 2011, more than 7 million litres of frack-wastewater was put through the sewage system of Windsor (a town of 3,785 people in Hants County in western Nova Scotia) and discharged into the Minas Basin. The fracked-wastewater came from AIS. In the Chronicle-Herald article this week, “Delorey said there was one case of this happening in 2011, when Atlantic Industrial Services of Debert treated and released water from a fracking operation in New Brunswick.”
In September 2012, Colchester County Council voted to allow consideration of an AIS application to dump ‘treated’ frack-wastewater into the Debert sewer system. That discharged fracking wastewater would have ultimately been released into the Chiganois River and would have impacted communities along Cobequid Bay and the Bay of Fundy. By May 2013 this proposal had been defeated through the efforts of many, including the Council of Canadians.
There is currently a moratorium on fracking in Nova Scotia while an independent review takes place. The Globe and Mail notes the review is being led by Cape Breton University president David Wheeler and its findings are expected to be released in the spring.