Fracking wastewater proposal studied by Amherst and Dieppe
Atlantic Industrial Services is looking to dispose of 30 million litres of treated wastewater
A second Maritime community is now in talks with a Nova Scotia company to take in 30 million litres of treated wastewater from hydraulic fracturing operations.
About 100 people turned out to a public meeting in Amherst, N.S., on Monday night for more information about a possible deal with Atlantic Industrial Services of Debert, N.S.
A similar deal has been debated about 65 kilometres away in Dieppe, N.B., for several months.
Amherst Mayor Rob Small said on Monday at the public meeting that he supports the idea of bringing the treated wastewater to his town from Debert.
Small said the town council has asked “hundreds of questions” to the company in recent weeks.
“Does this do something for the province of Nova Scotia? Will this do something for the town of Amherst? Is there a financial benefit to it? Those questions were yes," he said.
"So we thought, 'OK, it is time to discuss it with the public openly and see what they think.'"
The company would pay the town $500,000 over two years as part of the deal.
The Nova Scotia town called a public meeting on Monday to present the plan to residents.
About 100 people showed up and the majority of residents said they were opposed to accepting the treated wastewater.
Many people who attended the meeting on Monday said there wasn’t enough opportunity to ask questions of public officials.
Charlie Bishop was at the meeting and he said many people in the town are concerned about the proposal.
He said the town must do a better job of explaining the project to its residents before it accepts the deal.
"I am here to find out what is going on, the water coming from [Debert], I am concerned about that. I feel that it may be a price deal for the Town of Amherst but I feel we should know more about it," he said.
The town's council extended the deadline to vote on the project to Nov. 24.
The municipal council in Colchester County 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.
A similar proposal has also been met by a series of questions in Dieppe.
Dieppe Coun. Paul Belliveau said he doesn’t like the idea of putting the treated wastewater in the local sewer system.
Belliveau is also the head of Riverkeepers, a group that lobbies to clean up the Petitcodiac River.
He said he is afraid that if Amherst accepts the treated wastewater it will wind up in the Petitcodiac River.
“Their wastewater facility will just allow that water to go through what ever tributaries that will lead it to the Petitcodiac River,” Belliveau said.
Greg Herrett, the chief administrative office in Amherst, said the water will meet all federal and provincial guidelines including those for drinking water.
Herrett said the water will already be treated before it comes to Amherst.
The town official said too many communities have rejected this water because of emotional arguments.
“The approach that we've taken is, what we believe to be a business like this one and we've identified the technical issues and we think we've dealt with those. And we've identified the legal issues and we think we've dealt with those," Herrett said.
"And at this point in time we're proceeding," Herrett said.