New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance says: The more we investigate, the more questions need answers.

Moncton, NB (18 August 2014) – After researching written documents and interviewing Nova Scotians involved with the history of Atlantic Industrial Services’ (AIS) activities in that province, the New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance (NBASGA) believes that even more questions must be answered about the proposal to dispose of fracking wastewater in Dieppe.

Associated Links: Dieppe Wastewater Dumping Raises Concerns

1. NBASGA spokesman, Jim Emberger says that the history of fracking wastewater companies is replete with examples of evading or breaking regulatory requirements. “We are not accusing AIS of any such actions,” he stresses, “but we do note that, for whatever reason, AIS did not disclose the nature of radioactive and toxic contents of wastewater released to the municipal sewage treatment systems when it was working in Nova Scotia.”

In virtually all situations, including the water testing rules in New Brunswick’s Rules for Industry, an independent third party must do water testing. However, in this case, there apparently has not been any independent testing of the supposedly “treated” wastewater at the AIS facility. AIS always took the samples and submitted the samples themselves.

NBASGA asks: Will New Brunswick authorities require independent testing of this water or just take the word of a company that has not been forthcoming with information to either municipal facilities or the public?

2. A report prepared by the Ecology Action Centre, entitled, OUT OF CONTROL: Nova Scotia’s Experience with Fracking for Shale Gas, identifies some of the chemicals used in Nova Scotia, many of which have toxic or carcinogenic properties:

Of the 22 identified chemicals used in Hants County:
• 2 known to adversely affect reproduction
• 8 potential mutagens
• 8 potential carcinogens
• 11 with potential to cause adverse effects on ecological integrity.

Of the 31 identified products (chemical mixtures) used in Hants County:
• 5 associated with adverse effects on reproduction
• 5 containing potential mutagens
• 8 containing potential carcinogens
• 8 with potential to cause adverse effects on ecological integrity.

We do not know if the chemicals included in the AIS testing procedures constituted the complete list of the chemicals used in the fracking mixtures that created the wastewater.

NBASGA asks: Will New Brunswick retest for those chemicals? Will we be given the complete list of chemicals, including those listed as trade secrets?

Some tests take several weeks. How and when will testing be done? Will Dieppe test each truck as it arrives, or only when the holding tank is full? Or will they test the water contained in the Nova Scotia holding ponds just once? If so, how can we ensure that those ponds won’t receive new wastewater, treated or not, which will then simply be trucked to Dieppe?

3. We can assume that the two million litres of wastewater that AIS delivered to the Lafarge Cement Kiln at Brookfield for experimental disposal may not have worked as planned, since Lafarge did not take any more.

NBASGA asks: Did this experiment fail, and if so, why? Is the reason related to Nova Scotia municipalities continuing refusal to accept the wastewater?

4. If the wastewater does contain contaminants or radioactivity, the tidal bore would transfer some waste upriver as far as Salisbury and leave any radioactive particles or residue chemicals in the muddy banks along the way. The same situation applies to downriver. Halls Creek and all tidal streams will be affected. As the process continues, any chemicals and radioactive particles will gradually accumulate over time, becoming more toxic and threatening aquatic life.

NBASGA asks: Does New Brunswick have standards, processes and technology for assessing and monitoring the accumulation of low-level radioactivity and/or toxicity?

5. Waste water testing is an important aspect of the shale gas industry, one that erodes an already low or non-existent profit margin for the companies. “Keeping the process safe costs a lot of money,” says Emberger, “so there is a lot of incentive for companies to do as little as possible and to weaken regulations as much as possible. That is why we must remain cautious and vigilant.”

NBASGA asks: All this testing will be expensive. Who will pay for it?