By Ashley Thompson
Government spokesperson says risk to environment 'minimal'
The latest bout of wet weather has caused fracking wastewater to spill out of holding ponds in the Kennetcook area.
Lori Errington, a spokesperson for Nova Scotia Environment, says the department is working with Triangle Petroleum, the American company responsible for the production of the wastewater, to reduce the likelihood of brine water pouring out of the holding ponds again.
‚ÄúRecent heavy weather events led to the weight of the flexible covers pushing down and causing some of the top level of water to spill out of the ponds,‚ÄĚ said Errington.
‚ÄúThe risk to the environment is minimal, as the top levels are largely rainwater and salt water. That said, we don‚Äôt want the water spilling into the environment.‚ÄĚ
Errington says the covers on the holding ponds will be checked more often from now own, especially in the event of a storm.
The ponds contained about 11.5 million litres of brine water following the fracking Triangle Petroleum conducted in the area in 2009, she added.
‚ÄúThe water in the ponds is largely salt water and rainwater with some residual chemicals and NORMs (naturally occurring radioactive materials) in the water, but concentrated mostly in the sludge closer to the bottom of the ponds.‚ÄĚ
She says a substantial amount of melting snow and rainwater have topped the ponds off, and that is likely what leaked into the ground following the spill.
‚ÄúThere is no cleanup as the water ran out of the ponds and into the soil around the ponds. Soil tests were taken as a precaution, but it is not believed there was a negative impact on the environment,‚ÄĚ she wrote in an e-mail.
The ponds, which are nearing capacity, can hold about 10 million litres of water.
Nova Scotia Environment maintains that draining the ponds remains a priority.
Minasville resident Ken Summers, a member of a fracking opposition coalition in East Hants, is concerned that the waste the spilled out of the pond could have flowed into a nearby brook that passes several houses.
He says the residents of the community‚Äôs neighbouring the holding ponds are ready for a long-term solution.
‚ÄúThis is another band-aid because there‚Äôs no agreed process for dealing with the wastes that are here so they‚Äôre still basically making it up as they go.‚ÄĚ