I attended two meetings in Debert, Nova Scotia, on May 5th and 6th, 2013, for the discussion and appeals of the fracking waste-water they want to dump through the treatment plant in Debert, Nova Scotia The waste-water would contain naturally occurring radioactive materials, carcinogens, other toxins and elevated levels of Chloride. But the representative from the Public Works department suggested the elevated levels chloride were not a threat because it really isn't a toxin.
But we already know the water temperature in the Atlantic and the Bay are increasing. The combination of the warmer water mixed with the extra chloride will encourage more algae blooms. These algae blooms release toxins that shellfish process and store. They filter the water,their bodies store the toxins and when it gets to unacceptable levels, they issue a red-tide alert and temporarily close the flats. Eating these clams could make a person sick, and in some cases I've heard it can be fatal.
As Robert Lattie said during his appeal,"Releasing the frack wastewaters threatens the longevity of all commerce from this natural source. Sadly, it also threatens lifestyles, lifestyles that depend on nature more than commerce."
I feel that our shellfish industry will be the first casualty from the waste-water discharge. It should be noted that the increase in algae blooms will also reduce the amount of oxygen in the water. What affect will this have on the fish?
The Atlantic Industrial Services (AIS) claim they will continually monitor the discharge down-stream for unacceptable levels of contaminates. But I'm not convinced that the naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORMS), carcinogens,and other toxins are all going to be swept out with the tide. What if a percentage is left behind and takes root in the flats, and the marine life? While the discharge contamination is being carefully monitored, what about the effects of long-term exposure to these toxic chemicals on our marine life? Will we ever be able to go dulsing again?
The National Resources Defence Council (NRDC) is the United States most effective environmental action group, combining the grassroots power of 1.3 million members and online activists with the courtroom clout and expertise of more than 350 lawyers, scientists and other professionals. They have published a report titled "In Fracking’s Wake: New Rules are Needed to Protect Our Health and Environment from Contaminated Wastewater". It's over 100 pages long, and you needn't read it all. Here is the executive summary, from page three:
This paper analyzes the problem of wastewater generated from the hydraulic fracturing process of producing natural gas, particularly with regard to production in the Marcellus Shale.
It shows that, while hydraulic fracturing (often called “hydrofracking” or “fracking”) generates massive amounts of polluted wastewater that threaten the health of our drinking water supplies, rivers, streams, and ground water, federal and state regulations have not kept up with the dramatic growth in the practice and must be significantly strengthened to reduce the risks of fracking throughout the Marcellus region and elsewhere.
Hydrofracking and the production of natural gas from fracked wells yield by- products that must be managed carefully to avoid significant harms to human health and the environment. These wastewater by-products are known as “flowback” (fracturing fluid injected into a gas well that returns to the surface when drilling pressure is released) and “produced water” (all wastewater emerging from the well after production begins, much of which is salty water contained within the shale formation).
Both types of wastewater contain potentially harmful pollutants, including salts, organic hydrocarbons (sometimes referred to simply as oil and grease), inorganic and organic additives, and naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM). These pollutants can be dangerous if they are released into the environment or if people are exposed to them. They can be toxic to humans and aquatic life, radioactive, or corrosive. They can damage ecosystem health by depleting oxygen or causing algal blooms, or they can interact with disinfectants at drinking water plants to form cancer-causing chemicals.
The full report in pdf format can be downloaded here:http://www.nrdc.org/energy/files/Fracking-Wastewater-FullReport.pdf
As you can read on the CBC website, we were able to persuade the committee to reject the proposal from AIS that was previously approved. There were other concerns too beside the contaminants we know of. There is almost 4% of the treated solution that the oil and gas companies refuse to divulge the chemicals that make up the composition. Therefore, it can't be good...
Ordinary citizens can make a difference. We'll be able to continue to dig clams from the bay by the cottage, ands o will our children.
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