Nova Scotia: Atlantic Industrial systems (AIS) calls fracking wastewater decision ‘political’

Nova Scotia: AIS calls fracking wastewater decision ‘political’ by Harry Sullivan, May 23, 2013, Nova Scotia Daily Business Buzz
Atlantic Industrial Systems is exploring its options now that a final decision has been made to not allow its fracking wastewater into Colchester County‘s sewer system. “Well, that’s what were in the process of trying to figure out,” company vice-president Clint Stewart said, regarding frack wastewater stored in two holding lagoons at its Debert site. “We’ll be evaluating our options this week and determining what our next step is. In terms of the decision, obviously we’re disappointed. I guess that can be expected.” A sewer-use appeal committee set up by Colchester County Council released its verdict Thursday night to overturn a decision made in March by the director of Public Works to allow the discharge of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) wastewater into the municipal sewer system. AIS had applied to discharge 4.5 million litres of a total 8.9 million litres contained in two holding ponds. The wastewater is the result of fracking operations that took place in Kennetcook. The actual amount brought to the site was 5.5 million litres, Stewart said, while the total amount is the result of rainwater that has accumulated in the open lagoons. He also said summertime evaporation will reduce that total. “The committee feels that there is insufficient information to satisfy itself that the ingredients in the fracking wastewater and methods used in the fracturing process pose no health, safety or environmental hazard,” committee chairman Tom Taggart said, while announcing the decision. “Neither is it satisfied the fracking wastewater would not interfere with the operation of its wastewater system.” Stewart, however, called the decision “political” as opposed to one based on science.

Stewart said the next step will be to hold discussions with the Department of Environment (DoE) to determine what options are available for disposing of the waste water, which contains levels of naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORMs) that are higher than provincial guidelines permit. The DoE provided authorization for the company to bring the material to its site before those guidelines were determined, however, and without informing the municipality of the move.

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