Unless there are provincial protocols in place, Windsor councillors don't want to see fracking wastewater processed at the town's sewage treatment plant.
At the regular committee of the whole meeting Oct. 15, CAO Louis Coutinho brought up the topic and recommended council consider taking the strong stance.
“As council is aware, there has been a lot of misinformation about what the town is going to do and that's only because of the water that we had processed previously,” explained Coutinho at the Oct. 15 meeting.
“As council is also aware, we have never received any written protocols and procedures from the province as to precisely what they want to see and how they want to see the water processed through the water treatment plants,” he added.
The Town of Windsor's sewage treatment plant processed about seven million litres of the brine water between March 2010 and August 2011. Once treated, the water was flushed into the Minas Basin. The town was paid about $100,000 to process the water.
At the time, town representatives said they did not know there could have been radioactive elements in the brine water when they agreed to process the fluid.
Brine water is the waste produced when millions of litres of frack fluid, which is comprised of water, sand and a variety of chemicals, is injected into the ground to release shale gas and hydrocarbons from rock formations. Concerns have been expressed over the years about the safety of the procedure, the environmental impact fracking could have down the road, and how the byproduct can be effectively treated.
In 2012, the provincial government implemented a two-year moratorium on hydraulic fracturing while a review was conducted.
At the committee of the whole meeting, Coutinho said the town could revisit the issue of processing the byproduct in the future if the province allows for fracking to resume or puts guidelines in place for the treatment of the wastewater.
Deputy Mayor Laurie Murley made a motion to recommend to council that they issue a statement indicating that “no fracking water will be processed through our Wastewater Treatment Plant until there is an extensive public consultation and full consideration given by the Department of Environment of the Province of Nova Scotia for protocols and procedures to address fracking water and the eventual disposal of this byproduct through wastewater treatment facilities.”
All councillors supported her motion.
It was anticipated the motion would be approved when it was brought forward at the Windsor town council meeting Oct. 22.