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U.S. groups weigh in on Colchester fracking wastewater debate

In an open letter to the Colchester County Sewer Use Appeal Committee, U.S. organizations Food and Water Watch and Sierra Club Maine express concern over the approval of the discharge of fracking wastewater. The two U.S. groups are asking the Appeal Committee, which is meeting Tuesday to discuss the recent hearings and appeals, to terminate the approval.

In March, Colchester County approved the release of several million litres of fracking wastewater to be discharged by Atlantic Industrial Services into the Debert sewer system and subsequently into local waterways. Many groups expressed opposition to the plan because of lack of adequate public consultation, the violation of Colchester’s by-laws and the impacts the discharge would have on communities in the Cobequid Bay and the Bay of Fundy.

The letter, signed by Nisha Swinton, Maine organizer for Food and Water Watch and Becky Bartovics, Co-chair of Sierra Club Maine, states: “Given our location in Maine, we believe that your decision could have long-term implications for our shores, including tourism and our fishery….We trust you will make a decision that our grandchildren can respect and urge you to terminate the approval.”

“As I expressed in my presentation to the committee at the hearing last week, their decision affects communities beyond Colchester and we trust this will be considered as they make their decision,” says Angela Giles, Atlantic regional organizer for the Council of Canadians.”We hope this letter, along with the strong local opposition, is enough to make the Appeal Committee reverse Colchester’s decision and not allow fracking waste to be released into the Debert sewer system.”

“The concerns expressed by these U.S. groups highlight how wide-ranging and serious this decision is,” says Emma Lui, water campaigner with the Council of Canadians. “The potential for contamination of communities’ waterways does not stop at municipal, provincial or even national borders.”

A decision by the Appeal Committee is expected this Friday.


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