Amherst has decided against taking in 30 million litres of treated fracking wastewater, the bulk of it from shale gas operations in New Brunswick.

The company that treats the water offered the town half a million dollars to dump it in their sewage system. Officials initially said yes to the plan, but changed their minds after hearing opposition from residents.

For weeks, the mayor and council received emails and letters against the deal.

Town officials held a closed meeting on Sunday, and decided to immediately stop negotiations with the company, Atlantic Industrial Services.

Deputy Mayor George Baker says the issue had become too divisive for the community.

“The outcry, and the financial burden and the situation, if it were sewer coming to our sewage treatment plant and we were doing the treatment, and then outflow like today, I’d have no problem with that,” he said.

“I’d have 100 per cent behind that. But who can really guarantee that is it safe?”

Concerns over chemicals

Residents expressed concerns over the levels of chemicals and sodium in the treated wastewater, even though the province and the company both say the water is safe enough to drink.

Mike Clark was one of those residents against the deal.

“Having our voice finally heard is what it was all about,” he said. We weren’t trying to make any change, we were trying to make things the same as they’ve always been. The community really pulled together for this. We’re celebrating right now.”

Not all residents are pleased with the town’s decision, with some saying they really could have used the $500,000 AIS was offering.

Algis Rabna says those in opposition to the project are a small minority.

“They don’t want something, they don’t understand what it is,” he said.

AIS is in similar talks with the town of Dieppe who are looking at a similar offer.