Thirty million litres of fracking wastewater could be disposed of in a New Brunswick municipal sewer system if the province gives permission to the Nova Scotia company seeking to dump it.
Atlantic Industrial Services, a company that takes wastewater from other companies and treats it, needs to get rid of 30 million litres of wastewater currently being held in Debert, N.S., near Truro.
Officials in Debert have rejected the wastewater so AIS is looking to Dieppe, N.B., proposing to get rid of it over two years. The whole process would require shipping three tanker truck loads of wastewater every day, five days a week.
The waste would eventually be released in Dieppe’s municipal sewer system.
City officials in Dieppe say the province has to first approve the company's environmental impact assessment before it can even consider the project.
Cleared by environmental report
That assessment said the treated water "meets the Dieppe municipal sewer discharge criteria, and if released to the environment would pose no human health risk or environmental risk.”
In Debert, the municipal council rejected treated wastewater from the same company over concerns over high levels of sodium chloride and some radioactive material.
AIS says it has improved its treatment system to reduce those levels.
Stephanie Merrill, the director of Fresh Water Protection Program with the Conservation Council of New Brunswick, said there are still too many questions about the impact of the water.
She says the province doesn't have a policy on how to deal with the wastewater.
No decision yet
“The rules for industry that were released in 2012 I think, said that we will cross that wastewater bridge when we get there,” she said. “Now all of a sudden the bridge is in front of us.”
“We're reacting very quickly to a problem that was created in Nova Scotia without a policy for documenting and a process for a longer term situation to release shale gas waste.”
City officials in Dieppe said they were only recently informed about the project through the Department of Environment and the company's environmental impact assessment.
In a statement on Wednesday, the province of New Brunswick said no approvals have been made.