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Council of Canadians calls for ban on treatment of fracking wastewater in Nova Scotia

The Council of Canadians has sent letters to the mayors of Windsor and Colchester, as well as the Environment Minister of Nova Scotia, urging them to ban the treatment of fracking wastewater in the province. The letters warn that this practice puts the drinking water of these towns and the health of the residents at risk.

The letter to the Environment Minister Sterling Belliveau states: ”While some companies are voluntarily reporting some of the chemicals they use, companies are not legally required to disclose these chemicals. The lack of information about fracking chemicals makes it extremely difficult to know what to treat in the treatment of fracking wastewater and poses a risk to understanding potential health risks. Allowing fracking wastewater to be treated in the province without knowing the contents of it is a reckless and irresponsible practice… The lack of solutions to safely dispose of fracking wastewater is a strong reason to ban fracking outright.”

In Windsor, millions of litres of toxic wastewater were treated at Windsor’s sewage treatment plant between March 2010 and August 2011, and then discharged into the Minas Basin. In Colchester, the County Council voted to allow its municipal engineer to examine an application by Atlantic Industrial Services to run treated fracking wastewater through the Debert sewer system. Despite a moratorium on fracking, Nova Scotia Environment has been allowing the treatment of fracking wastewater.

Hydraulic fracturing, more commonly known as “fracking,” is a technique to extract natural gas from harder to access unconventional sources trapped in rock formations such as shale gas, coal bed methane and tight gas. Millions of litres of water and thousands of litres of chemicals are injected underground at very high pressure in order to create fractures in the rock allowing gas to flow up the well.

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