New Brunswick

Fracking wastewater proposal for Dieppe will see public input

The New Brunswick government will seek public input on a Nova Scotia company's proposal to dump 30 million litres of treated fracking wastewater in Dieppe's sewage system, officials say.

Atlantic Industrial Services wants to dispose of 30 million litres in city's sewage system

The New Brunswick Department of Environment and Local Government says public consultations will be held soon about a proposal to dispose of fracking wastewater in Dieppe's sewage system.

Atlantic Industrial Services, a company that takes wastewater from other companies and treats it,  would like to ship 30 million litres of the water currently being held in Debert, N.S.

Citizen Daniel Goudreau talking to Moncton city council about his concerns over hauling treated hydro-fracking water from Nova Scotia to Dieppe for disposal. (Kate Letterick/CBC)
The department says an environmental impact assessment has been registered with the province and is currently under review by a technical committee.

The Greater Moncton Wastewater Commission was notified about the plan in June as part of the environmental impact assessment, said general manager Bernard LeBlanc.

It was able to ask some questions, but not all of them have been answered, he said.

"We'd like to know exactly what the product components are, if it's compatible with our bylaws, but also if its compatible with our treatment process or could affect it in any way," said LeBlanc.

"Right now, I don't think we can take a stand. Until we get more information, it's difficult for us to say, 'No issue,' or 'An issue,'" he said.

"So I guess once we get a bit more detail or information, we can say, 'No problem,' or 'Could be an issue,' but I think in the end, the province, as the regulator, will decide what's in the Atlantic Industrial approval to operate, not the commission."

About 50 people showed up at Moncton City Hall Monday night to express their concerns about the plan.

Moncton council heard three presentations from people who are worried about that prospect.

About 50 people showed up at Moncton City Hall Monday night to express their concerns about disposing fracking wastewater in Dieppe's sewage system. (Kate Letterick/CBC)
"We can not afford to be the testing ground for this.  It has to be remembered that the Debert facility is a pilot project and still in the experimental stage," said concerned citizen Daniel Goudreau.

Goudreau said disposing of the water in Dieppe would have a far greater impact.

"It will then be dumped in a municipal water system that serves Dieppe, Moncton and Riverview. From the sewer it will go on to the Petitcodiac River and from there up and down the Bay of Fundy and God knows what it's going to do to the environment at that point," Goudreau said.

He urged council to voice its disapproval.

One councillor said the city of Moncton has not received any information about the proposal.

"The city of Moncton has not been privvy to any of the information concerning this file.  The city of Moncton has not been advised in any way by anyone concerning this project," said Pierre Boudreau.

Boudreau said it would make more sense for the wastewater to be taken to Halifax.

Meanwhile, Deputy Mayor Shawn Crossman said council has been assured by the province that a formal public consultation will have to take place before anything can happen.

The technical review committee reviewing Atlantic Industrial Services's EIA includes members from the New Brunswick departments of Environment; Natural Resources; Transportation and Infrastructure; Tourism, Heritage and Culture; the New Brunswick Aboriginal Affairs Secretariat, Environment Canada, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, the City of Dieppe and the Greater Moncton Sewerage Commission.