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Colchester County steps in on fracking waste disposal. NS Government Too Busy Making Sure Everything Is Safe for Companies

Blog posts reflect the views of their authors.

This blog is meant to be read in conjunction with this story

Interview with Triangle CEO Peter Hill

The NOFRAC Freedom of Information treasure trove contains substantial documentation that independently confirms what Peter Hill said in the interview with Miles Howe: no fracking wastes left the Kennetcook ponds after he took over managing Triangle Petroleum in November 2010, until the aborted transfer of all the wastes to AIS Debert. That November 2011 transfer did not begin until months after the Windsor discharges ended.

There is also the fact of the intense negotiations, described in the article, during the entire period of time where over 5 million litres of wastes are coming into Windsor, and Peter Hill is wrangling with Environment over how to drain the still full Kennetcook ponds.

Radioactivity in Waste Waters Issue

Colchester County is the first level of government to step back from the high profile issue of the radioactive materials in the fracking waters, to ask the prior questions about whether AIS should be processing ANY fracking waste water for release into a municipal sewage treatment plant, The provincial government has not only refused to have a public process for this question, they have given no evidence- even in thousands of pages of Freedom of Information procured documents- of any internal process.

Articles about or including the radioactivity issue can be found here and here.

Without AIS ever meeting the conditions for basic processing of fracking wastes set out in the Environmental Assesment, the Department of Environment effected an incomprehensible leap frog to ‘promote’ AIS to the much more specialized processing of removing radioactive material from fracking wastewater.

Colchester County expressed its lack of confidence in the provincial government's oversight of the experimental AIS pilot project to remove radioactive material from the wastes.

Minister Belliveau Makes Up A Process Which Supposedly Deemed Fracking Wastes “Safe” for the Windsor Sewage Treatment Plant

From that CBC story  that broke the news last October:

Nova Scotia's Minister of Environment Sterling Belliveau confirmed the water was analyzed by a consultant and deemed safe, but it wasn't tested for radioactivity.

Belliveau said the consultant wasn't aware of Nova Scotia's geology but as soon as the department became aware of radioactive levels, it issued a stop order to the town.

As obviously intended, anyone hearing this would assume some kind of wide scope analysis performed by this consultant.

But the consultant did not “analyse the water”- he was given some numbers for the parameters of the wastewater salinity and iron levels.

In barely two pages of text, the consultant gave an opinion that, based on the numbers he was provided, the salinity and iron levels should not be a debilitating problem for the sewer plant equipment.


Consultant’s letter


Forget About Transperency From the Government.

Citizens Do Not Even Get LEGALY REQUIRED Disclosure

My enquiry about the fracking wastes that are in my community began as a conversation with a seemingly helpful Nova Scotia Environment manager who had from the beginning handled the Triangle Petroleum file. This was in December 2011-  recently after all the events that pertain to the .wastes discharged into Windsor sewage treatment plant.

It was pointed out that from the Freedom of Information request about the Kennetcook area shale gas project had produced hundreds of pages about water withdrawals for supplying the fracking, but very little about the wastes. And the little about the wastes was solely concerned with the presence of the two storage ponds still in Kennetcook.

Obviously not all the fracking wastes that had been produced were still in these two Kennetcook storage ponds. What about the rest? Where did they go? The answer was that we would have to ask “the company”- with the clear implication that they have no information to offer.

Hence, a second Freedom of Information request with specific questions about the fate of the various fracking wastes. This produced a lot more information, including a great deal that the Environment area manager was very engaged with when I had been told that they had no information to give me.

But there was still obviously a lot missing on where wastes had gone, and communications that dealt with those. Follow-up queries to the department’s FOIPOP administrator were conveyed to the manager and other staff. This produced a series of clipped replies: “the companies are required to dispose at a qualified facility, but are not required to report disposal to us.”

Which is consistent at least with the answer to my first query: “you will have to ask the company.”

This obviously raises immediate questions like: “but the companies have to answer if you ask? Did you ask?”

But setting those questions aside, and bearing in mind that this is a FOIPOP process where the Department is required to divulge, let us look at the claim that they had no further information on where any Kennetcook are fracking wastes went. The official line in the documentation is that the Windsor discharges came from the Kennetcook storage ponds.

Environment had and has considerable documentation on the Windsor arrangement. So why was this not provided as part of the required FOIPOP disclosure? When the FOIPOP Office Review asked the Department for an accounting, they replied that it was a different Industrial Approval in a different file, and “saw no connection.”


We Need a Robust Hydraulic Fracturing Review with Expanded Scope and Participation,

Not the Token We Have Now So The Government Can Safely Make Whatever Decision They Want After the Election

The NDP government tells us it will all be taken care of by the Hydraulic Fracturing Review. Grand claims are made that the Review will look at whether fracking even can be safe, but the civil servants charged with the work only talk about examining “better regulations.” There are problems enough with that severe limitation of scope. But what hope can there be in “better regulations” from government departments so cavalier about and heedless of the regulations they now have?

First order of business for all Nova Scotians: make demands on your government.

Show us the money. What  reason is there for us to see the NDP’s invisible Hydraulic Fracturing Review as anything more than a tactic to be free to make their decision, after the election?

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