Triangle Petroleum, a Denver Colorado based company, was granted a 10 year hydraulic fracturing exploitation lease on 475,000 gross acres—known as The Windsor Block—spanning Kings and Hants Counties along the Minas Basin.
Unlike the conventional oil well production, in each fracking, 10 million litres of fresh water mixed with sand and chemicals (also referred as brine) are forced through the well into the formation at high pressure to fracture, or crack, the shale. Roughly half the fracking fluid remains in the ground. The rest of it (4 to 6 million litres) flows back to the surface and is considered industrial waste.
In 2007, Triangle Petroleum created large containment lagoons in Kennetcook and Noel area for their flow back fracking waste which was against the Provincial exploration agreement. Triangle Petroleum was ordered by the Department of Environment to remediate those lagoons and decontaminate the sites.
Since then, Triangle Petroleum has repeatedly pressured to the Province to grant them the authority to re-inject the fracking waste from the lagoons deep underground. This goes against Nova Scotia best practice and was not approved by the province due to the high risk of ground water contamination.
Back in 2011, when the Dept of Environment demanded that the lagoons be drained before winter freeze, Triangle claimed this was unfeasible and as unbelievable as it seems, they suggested instead “the gradual use of the fracking waste as a de-icing/wetting agent on Nova Scotia roads.”
In November 2011, the province approved Triangle’s plan to transport the fracking waste from the Kennetcook and Noel lagoons by tanker truck to Atlantic Industrial Services (AIS) in Debert, N.S., where it would be treated and disposed of. Within a month, nearly 5 million litres of fracking waste was sitting in containment lagoons at AIS. The fracking waste was analyzed and the province quickly suspended the cleanup operation when the analysis result revealed the waste contained levels of Naturally Occuring Radioactive Material (NORM) in excess of Health Canada guidelines as it is very toxic for human and animal life on land, in our rivers and at sea. As the hydrocarbon-bearing geological formation in Nova Scotia is particularly rich in NORM, consequently the fracking waste is contaminated with NORM.
Last September, AIS made an application to the Colchester County council to immediately process, to the extent of the plant’s ability, with the option to treat another 11 million litres of the same radioactive fracking waste that are being held in two large lagoons at Kennetcook and Noel since 2007 at a future time. AIS was never designed to handle radioactive waste, as a result the idea was put on hold last month by the Municipality of Colchester.
As it turns out, the Municipality of Colchester is not the only municipality plagued by this radioactive fracking waste. Another municipal sewage treatment plant in the area has already been accepting the radioactive fracking waste from AIS, completely untreated! Upon reviewing a trove of Freedom of Information documents, the following information was found.
It is dated May 10th 2011 originated from the Town of Windsor (page 33-34 of NOFRAC PDF Freedom of Information documents), Todd Richard from the Town of Windsor wrote: “As per your request for information on the location where the brine water we accept from Atlantic Industrial Services. The water is coming from Kennetcook and Noel area. There are two lagoons there that hold the brine water from gas well fracturing that took place in the last few years in that area.”
Why is the Town of Windsor accepting this radioactive fracking waste from AIS? Are they informed that the fluid is contaminated with radioactive materials? Where is this radioactive fracking waste now? Most importantly, why is the municipality having to sort through this? Shouldn’t it be the responsibility of the Province to sort this mess out?
No Fracking Windsor Block Nova Scotia (Facebook)