Nova Scotia bans importation of fracking water

Ashley Thompson
Published on December 9, 2013

The provincial government is cracking down on the treatment of fracking wastewater in Nova Scotia.

New legislation tabled Dec. 2 will prevent companies from importing wastewater generated by hydraulic fracturing, commonly referred to as fracking, into Nova Scotia.

"Nova Scotians are deeply concerned about the risks posed by fracking

wastewater," said Environment Minister Randy Delorey, in a press release issued Dec. 2.

“Today we are taking another step through legislation to ensure the protection of our environment, and consequently, the health of Nova Scotians.”

The press release goes on to state that “next steps” will soon be announced regarding the millions of litres of fracking wastewater left in Kennetcook-based holding ponds after Triangle Petroleum conducted shale gas exploration in the area six years ago.

It is up to Triangle Petroleum, a Denver-based company, to foot the bill for the cleanup of the holding ponds in Kennetcook.

“The company is required to drain the ponds and have the water treated/disposed of by an approved facility. Then the site must be remediated,” wrote Lori Errington, a spokesperson for Nova Scotia Environment (NSE), in an e-mail to the Hants Journal.

Errington says covers have been placed on the two holding ponds to prevent the water levels from rising, and NSE inspectors are monitoring the site.

Atlantic Industrial Services in Debert accepted fracking wastewater from two clients between 2007 and 2010, but the facility is no longer permitted to offer this service, Errington said.

The moratorium on fracking in Nova Scotia remains in effect while Dr. David Wheeler, president of Cape Breton University, completes an independent review of the controversial shale gas exploration method.

“He is an internationally experienced academic and business executive with extensive experience related to energy, environment and public processes. He has been published widely in the field of water quality and health, including in the area of groundwater pollution control, and he advised the World Health Organization for many years on drinking water quality standards,” said Errington.

The independent review is expected to be submitted in the spring or summer of 2014.