Proposal to ship AIS frack water to New Brunswick raises concern for Colchester County council

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TRURO - A proposal by Atlantic Industrial Services (AIS) in Debert to transport treated frack water to Dieppe, N.B. for disposal in that city's municipal sewer system is not sitting well with Colchester County council.

But an AIS representative says that every drop of the 30 million litres of water being proposed would be treated through reverse osmosis and will be completely safe to drink.

"It will meet all the discharge requirements for the Canadian guidelines for unconditional release. So, technically it is so clean we could open the tap and let it go, that's how clean it is," said Clint Stewart, the company's vice-president for enviro systems.

The Dieppe proposal was raised during a recent meeting of Colchester County council when Mayor Bob Taylor reported that he had been interviewed by reporters from CBC's English and French stations on the subject.

"This would amount to three tankers hauling 36,000 litres each, five days a week for two years," Taylor told council.

Taylor said he was left with the impression from those interviews that Dieppe residents believe the issue is being dumped on them because of Colchester County's decision not to let AIS release treated frack waters into its municipal sewer system.

Council ultimately decided to have staff contact the City of Dieppe with an offer of sending a contingent of councillors to New Brunswick to provide first-hand information on what led to Colchester's decision on the matter.

AIS had previously received permission from the Nova Scotia Department of Environment to conduct a pilot test for disposing of two million litres of frack water from the company's holding ponds in Debert by burning it in the kiln at the Lafarge cement plant near Brookfield after it had been treated through reverse osmosis.

During council discussion, Coun. Doug MacInnes questioned why AIS was now proposing to send frack water to New Brunswick, other than to avoid the expense of fully treating it.

"It is extremely disappointing to see what they are doing now," he said, of the prospect of the frack water being released into the Petitcodiac River and eventually into the Bay of Fundy, which Colchester had attempted to avoid by banning the water from its sewer system.

"It is going to ruin the Bay of Fundy," he said. "I cannot trust this company. I've caught them in too many mishaps, or lies, because that's what it is."

Stewart, however, said any concerns about the treated water having a detrimental impact on the environment are based on emotion instead of fact.

"We're looking at cleaning the waters up and then shipping them to New Brunswick for end disposal. So the product will be fully cleaned before it leaves our Debert facility," he said.

"I mean this water, well, there's no other way to describe it, it's completely clean. It is the cleanest water we've never discharged, let's put it that way. This is cleaner than any municipal system it is going into by far," he said.

"Fully drinkable."

Stewart said the company has successfully completed the two-million-litre pilot test at Lafarge and has applied to the province for further testing.

But that is a slow process for disposal, he said, and the Dieppe proposal is part of the company's plan to explore all available options.

Stewart said eight million litres of the frack water remains in Debert and the proposal to ship 30 million litres to New Brunswick includes water being stored in holding ponds in Kennetcook.

If the Dieppe proposal is successful, Stewart said it could also offer a long-term solution for the disposal of water from future fracking operations in that province.

"It looks like there's a brighter future potentially for the oil and gas industry in New Brunswick and we want to start to set up for that as well," he said.

But for anyone who has doubts about the status of the water that has been put through reverse osmosis, Stewart said they are welcome to have it tested themselves.

"This water has been analyzed more than any other water I've seen," he said. "If someone wants to take a sample and go get it analyzed, sure we can provide them with product."

Twitter: @tdnharry


Organizations: Colchester County council, CBC, Nova Scotia Department of

Geographic location: New Brunswick, Colchester County, Debert Bay of Fundy Dieppe Petitcodiac River Kennetcook

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Recent comments

  • M.A. Byrne
    December 15, 2014 - 13:48

    Great article! I not believe that the water is "fully drinkable" as A.I.S. vice presidenrt Clint Stewart states. It contains radon, uranium, barium, mercury and lead in levels unsafe for drinking, according to recent articles in Ecowatch magazine. Councillor Doug MacInnes said "I cannot trust this company. I've caught them in too many mishaps, or lies, because that is what it is." in this very article. This frackwater disposal corporation does not want people to know it is unsafe.

  • M.A. Byrne
    December 15, 2014 - 13:27

    Please do not believe that frackwater treated by osmosis is "fully drinkable". If it was safe, then why dump it? Currently, there is no known safe method in which to treat this frackwater.According to Ecowatch online environmental magazine (which boasts such contributors as the esteemed Dr. David Suzuki ) recent studies have determined that there are radioactive materials such as radon and uraniun and toxins such as arsenic, lead , barium, mercury, and antimony in levels unsafe to drink.These cause cancer, high blood pressure, skin rashes, liver and kidney damage and stomach health issues and the same chemicals accumulate in fish, marine life and the aquatic food web at unsafe levels and could possibly destroy the Atlantic fishery . When the aforementioned toxins accumulate in sedimentation along our beaches this could render them unfit for swimming and sunbathing areas, further negatively impacting our maritime tourism industry. In some American jurisdictions people in positions of authority are being charged criminally for toxic dumping.Do our local mayors and premiers want to risk that too?These are just a few of the things the frackwater disposal companies and the fracking industry, in general, do not want you to know.

  • Clide
    August 22, 2014 - 23:29

    Drink it, Clint.

  • Enviro Patrol
    August 20, 2014 - 13:42

    ""If the Dieppe proposal is successful, Stewart said it could also offer a long-term solution for the disposal of water from future fracking operations in that province."" ----but the NS law bans importing of Fracking waste water can't come to AIS in Debert...or is this a "Set up" it would not be right to ship ours to NB since NS made this law. "It looks like there's a brighter future potentially for the oil and gas industry in New Brunswick and we want to start to set up for that as well," he said. ---don't count you chickens, I suspect things are reaching a boiling point since now people realize this whole fracking process is full of problems that can impact our land and water "rational person" would support Fracking when we have clean energy technology options without the pollution to our land, water and air (like all fossil fuels we get pollution during extraction, processing/refining, and when burning it to make energy...the Big Oil companies are "Energy Conglomerates" ...and they will still be the energy giants when we stop using fossil fuel in what they themselves say will be within 20-30 years from now........IF we want more jobs....DEMAND the energy giants speed up the transition TODAY!!...SO get the "lead out" everybody and push your politicians to legislate rapid change...and transfer all energy subsidies to clean will see the energy giants follow the money and put current plans to expand extraction of fossil fuels on the "back burner" and create long term shareholder value and invest in extracting the energy form Wind, the sun, and the production of hydrogen for fuel cells...all of which will decrease almost all of our pollution ....speak up for you children's future TODAY...CALL YOU with your neighbors, friends and coworkers...decide who you should vote for if you want cleaner air to breathe and safe water, soil and food.

  • Realist
    August 19, 2014 - 20:51

    Ridiculous. This is nothing short of a witch hunt by this council with no rationality being used whatsoever.