TRURO - An application by a Debert company seeking permission to dispose of radioactive waste through the municipal sewage system has prompted Colchester County council to review existing bylaws dealing with unwanted materials.
Atlantic Industrial Services (AIS) is currently storing approximately 4.5 million litres of wastewater from hydraulic fracturing (fracking) processes that have occurred outside Colchester County and it has applied for a permit to treat and discharge the material into the public sewer system.
The material was approved for storage by the Department of the Environment without prior notice to the municipality.
The wastewater has been identified to contain naturally occurring radioactive materials, some of which are above Health Canada’s “unconditional derived release limit.”
A number of councillors expressed concern about releasing the waste into the public sewer system as well as displeasure that the DoE would permit the material to be stored within county limits without informing the municipality.
“This is not sewage,” Councillor Mike Cooper said, during discussion on Thursday night. “Why are we going through all this? Why don’t we just tell them to take this stuff somewhere else?”
Ramesh Ummat, the county’s director of public works, is responsible for determining whether a permit will be granted to AIS but he was instructed by council that if approval is provided, no discharging would be allowed until an appropriate appeal period can be exercised.
Council also directed staff to take a look at the municipality’s bylaws with the aim of revising them to permit a ban of any future unwanted materials.