Public reacts to shipping of fracking wastewater to Lafarge

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‘Why would I trust you? I don’t believe what you are saying’

TRURO – Public concerns were expressed during a meeting with the environment minister this week when it was announced millions of litres of fracking wastewater from Debert will be shipped to Lafarge in Pleasant Valley.

“After considering the community’s concerns and reviewing the tests on the treated water I am satisfied that this pilot project can proceed safely,” said minister Randy Delorey in a news release, which he reiterated at the meeting in Truro.

The government has authorized a pilot project to dispose two million litres of treated hydraulic fracking wastewater currently in Debert holding ponds. Beginning next week, Atlantic Industrial Services (AIS) will transport the treated water to Lafarge Canada cement plant in Pleasant Valley, near Brookfield. It will continue for three weeks with three to five truckloads of water being moved daily and will be used as a coolant in the kiln.

“Lafarge will test its equipment before and after using the water for residual inorganic materials,” said Delorey.

About 70 people were at the meeting and many concerns were not eased.

“There is a heavy amount of skepticism … lives could be at stake. Our number one concern is not money; it is our children … (who) will be paying the price,” said Debert’s BJ Tan.

Vincent DeAdder, of Debert, added radiation from the process “will not burn … it will go in the air. We are not going to get anything out of fracking in Nova Scotia except problems.”

Middle Stewiacke’s Ellen Durkee said another concern is the process of reversed osmosis “doesn’t take out heavy metals ... (residuals) won’t fall off in the clinker, it will go up in the steam and over our houses.”

“I’ve been researching this for weeks,” Durkee said, based on an operation in the United States that was shut down.

“Why would I trust you? I don’t believe what you are saying.  This is my life … so Lafarge can make a few extra (dollars) a month. I’m not a paranoid person but I’ve learned not to trust corporations,” Durkee said.

Others were upset the testing process was done through AIS as opposed to the Department of Environment. Delorey reiterated the process was tested and deemed safe by the department.

“I don’t see any significant or major risks associated with that proposal,” said Delorey, adding the pilot project with Lafarge remains a “precautionary” initiative.

Brookfield’s Orland Kennedy said the “worst possible method” of dealing with fracking water is “to find a way of disposing” it because “we don’t want it at all.”

He said the pilot project could “open the door” to others wanting to undertake similar projects in the area.

“The industry will be licking their chops,” Kennedy said.

Delorey confirmed that it is possible for other companies to propose projects in the future. However, he said, that’s not the case now and it would be up to a proponent to apply and the Department of Environment would again have to investigate the proposal.

Twitter: tdnMonique

Organizations: Lafarge Canada, Atlantic Industrial Services, Department of Environment

Geographic location: Debert, Brookfield, Truro Pleasant Valley Nova Scotia United States

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Recent comments

  • Graham Hutchinson
    April 21, 2014 - 22:35

    Quote on heat for disposal "A review of the available literature leads to the conclusion that the release of heavy metals had been clearly established" "mercury is able to pass through the gas treatment system. ...

  • Kevin Brine
    April 19, 2014 - 07:59

  • Dave MacNeill
    April 17, 2014 - 12:45

    Why is there so little information as to what will happen to the components of the fracking water? What is in the steam that will come off and drift over the countryside? What will be done to the components left behind? Will the chemicals, etc, become part of the cement that is distributed into various buildings and communities? I don't trust you seems to be a very intelligent position to take!

  • Jeff
    April 17, 2014 - 08:24

    SMH @ people and their "Internet research". I know more than experts in their field because I read an article online from an activist group and a conspiracy theorist. Personally I welcome fracking and hope we take advantage of it more in the future. I'm tired of losing people to the oil sands. We need this.

  • Stray cat
    April 17, 2014 - 08:21

    Why not dispose of the stuff in Antigonish. Let the people who voted for Randy Delorey have their say.