New Brunswick

Amherst protesters rally against imported fracking wastewater

A group of Amherst residents opposed to treated wastewater from hydraulic fracturing operations is protesting outside the town’s municipal building.

Dieppe is also in talks with Atlantic Industrial Services to bring the wastewater to that city

A group of Amherst residents opposed to treated wastewater from hydraulic fracturing operations protested outside the town’s municipal building on Friday.

About 40 protesters held up signs saying, “Bring jobs not waste” and “Town council is not the voice of the people.”

Ed Childs, a former town manager, said Amherst council is moving too quickly with the proposal.

"I don’t think that the disposal of toxic waste is a position that any town should take, they are not experts in it and they shouldn’t even be considering it," he said.

He said residents need more information about the plan. He also said he doesn't understand why the council is moving forward so quickly with the decision.

Ed Childs said he believes it is "arrogant" of the Amherst council to push forward so quickly with a plan to bring treated wastewater from fracking sites to the town. (CBC)
​"I think it is very arrogant, I don’t think they are listening to the people," he said.

"The information they are getting is not complete and I’m not sure if they have the ability to sort out the good with the bad."

Amherst is currently debating whether it will accept 30 million litres of treated wastewater from Atlantic Industrial Services from Debert, N.S.

No one from town council came out to speak with the protesters on Friday.

Amherst Mayor Rob Small said on Monday that he supports the proposal of bringing the treated wastewater to his town. Small said councillors have asked “hundreds of questions” to the company in recent weeks.

A similar deal is also being debated about 65 kilometres away in Dieppe, N.B.

The contracts with the municipalities would see the treated wastewater put into the local sewer systems.

'It's just not right'

Despite the rain in Amherst on Friday afternoon, the protest drew about 40 people. 

Tim Fahey said he believes more information needs to be shared with the public.

"I don’t like how it was presented to us. We really didn’t know until almost the end," he said.

"It just not right."

Mark Foley was also at the protest. He said if the water is being treated in Debert, then he doesn't understand why it needs to come to his hometown.

"I’m here because I’m against fracking, I’m against water being processed here in Amherst," he said.

"I think it is really, really wrong that it should be brought here."

About 100 people showed up at a public meeting in Amherst this week to learn more about the project.

The company would pay the Nova Scotia town $500,000 over two years as part of the deal.

The town's council extended the deadline to vote on the project to Nov. 24.

The municipal council in the County of Colchester rejected treated wastewater from the same company over concerns about high levels of sodium chloride and some radioactive material.

The company has said it has improved its treatment system to reduce those levels.


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