Bulk water policy under review by Erika Stark, August 23, 2012, Cochrane Times
Within the last year, much attention has been focused on Cochrane’s bulk water sales after it was announced that the town was selling some of its bulk water to oil and gas companies for fracking. Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is used by oil and gas companies to release petroleum and gas from rocks by using a pressurized fluid. The practice requires a lot of water and carries risks of contamination to surrounding soil and water, making it the subject of much criticism by environmentalists and local residents themselves. McBride said the increased concern over fracking and other oil-related activities is due in part to the fact that it’s all happening “much closer to home.” “People, I think, understand that the oil and gas industry is fundamental to the Alberta economy,” McBride said. “But they’re used to that sort of thing happening up north. When it’s going on underneath the house that we live in, that’s generated some additional concerns.” There’s currently fracking going on underneath the town in Sunset Ridge, he said.
But McBride stressed that the water that is sold for fracking accounts for a very small amount of the town’s total bulk water sales. … “Once a tanker comes to our facility and opens an account with the Town of Cochrane and fills his truck up at the facility, we don’t know the end use apart from the name of the truck. . .if it’s going to fill an acreage cistern for drinking water purposes or if it’s going to be used to water trees in an agricultural setting,” said Deans. “We’re not 100 per cent committed to knowing what that use is at the end of the day and that’s part of what we’re going to be looking at when we start to establish a detailed policy on bulk water sales.” … Bulk water sales brought in $178,176 for the town last year, with $78,500 of that coming from non-domestic accounts, Deans said.