Provincial environment officials are looking into a leak of fracking waste water at holding ponds in Kennetcook, N.S.
The water has been there for years in two large holding ponds. Nova Scotia's Environment Department ordered them covered this year.
The problem is, the heavy snow and rain in recent weeks has weighed those covers down so much that the wastewater underneath has been spilling out.
Ken Summers lives near the holding ponds and describes how work crews have been trying to stop the overflow.
“There’s a crew that has been pumping [surface water] out for, constantly, for two and a half days — so it’s taken two and a half days of pumping that to get it off and what they’re pumping off is an equivalent amount — that [surface water run off] displaced an equivalent amount [of fracking waste water] that was pushed out,” he said.
There are an estimated 27 million litres of fracking waste water in Nova Scotia. Some of it contains so-called Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials (NORMs). Fracking waste water is stored at the Atlantic Industrial Services facility in Debert, as well as in holding ponds in Kennetcook and Noel.
Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, involves blasting a mixture of water, sand and chemicals into a well bore to split the surrounding rock and release trapped hydrocarbons, usually natural gas, coal bed methane or crude oil.