Fracking wastewater ‘perfectly fine,’ in use at Lafarge cement plant by Francis Campbell, May 24, 2014, The Chronicle Herald
Lafarge has begun using fracking wastewater in its cement plant near Brookfield. Trucks started hauling the wastewater from Atlantic Industrial Services in Debert for use in the Lafarge cement-making kiln earlier this week.
“This is twice-treated water,” said Lori Errington, a spokeswoman for the provincial Environment Department. “It has had the chemicals removed through reverse osmosis; it had the norms reduced to below Canadian standards. The water meets the standards to be released into the drinking water supply, a freshwater source. It’s perfectly fine to be used for anything at this point in time. It meets all those criteria.”
Lafarge plant manager Scarth MacDonnell said the water is being used to cool the exhaust gases that come out of the kiln. “We put it on the kiln this week,” MacDonnell said.
The pilot project involves moving two million litres of water from Debert to the cement plant. Three to five tanker truckloads will be shipped each day over a two- to three-week period.
The water shipments had been approved to start in late April by the Environment Department but Lafarge delayed “to make sure everything was in place,” MacDonnell said.
“We listened long and hard to all the citizens’ concerns,” he said of the plan that met with a lot of resistance from residents. “One of the concerns that people had was is there any chance that AIS won’t put all the water through the reverse osmosis process. We did some studying and we found a test that is very quick and very reliable and it gives us instant information to make sure the water has all gone through the (reverse osmosis) process.”
MacDonnell estimates the trial will be wrapped up in three weeks.
“As part of this trial, we are doing a stack test. We will gather up all the results, doing a full analysis and we will be publishing everything on our website to make sure that anyone who has any concerns can get all the information that we have to assess the overall trial.”
One person who had grave concerns about moving and reusing fracking wastewater draws a degree of relief from the stack testing. “I understand that they are testing the stack,” said Ellen Durkee of Middle Stewiacke. … “We understand they have to do something with the water, and for that to be the least harmful for people and the environment is what we are hoping for. If it comes out clean, I guess this is it.”
Not quite it, according to MacDonnell. “It’s too soon to tell,” he said of applying to the province for further permits to use additional fracking wastewater at the plant.
“We are just focused on this trial right now. We want to get all the information, get all the stakeholders involved, sit down with the Department of Environment and review all the tests, and then you have a discussion about where you go from here.” [Emphasis added]
Pilot project proposal for disposal of fracking waste receives support by Harry Sullivan, May 16, 2014, Truro Daily
A proposed pilot project that would see the Lafarge cement plant disposing treated frack water in its kiln is receiving the official blessing from Colchester County County. “I would certainly endorse this,” Coun. Doug MacInnes said, during discussion at Thursday night’s council committee meeting, regarding a request from Lafarge plant manager Scarth MacDonnell for a letter of support for its proposal. “Let’s hope they clean it all up.”
The Brookfield plant has received approval from the environment department to dispose two-million litres of treated frack water from Atlantic Industrial Services (AIS) in Debert by using the flow water to cool its high-temperature kiln. During a recent public meeting when the approval was announced, however, a number of concerns about the practice were raised and MacDonnell told council the company wanted to ensure it also had the municipality’s support before proceeding. “We heard (the concerns) loud and clear,” he told council.
One of those concerns pertains to whether harmful elements would be released from the cement plant’s smoke stacks during the burning process.
In response, MacDonnell said the company plans to conduct stack tests to ensure there is no danger to the environment. Those tests, along with all other pertinent information related to the disposal process will be made public on the company’s website, he said.
In addition to reverse osmosis, the overall treatment process by AIS for the frack water involves a chain of methods, including biological treatment, nano-filteration and activated charcoal filtration to bring the flow water back to acceptable municipal standards of physical, chemical, biological and radiological parameters, a county staff report said.
As well, MacDonnell said the contents of every truck that arrives at the site will be tested to ensure that all the frack water has been treated through the reverse osmosis process. “So we’re trying to be as transparent as possible,” he said. “We’re happy to share the results with the community.”
While some councillors expressed opposition to a letter of support, MacDonnell said Department of Environment Minister Randy Delorey made assurances during his recent announcement in Truro that the “science is sound” surrounding the treatment process for the frack water. “I’m not concerned from a liability perspective, it’s more of a political decision,” MacDonnell said.
Deputy Mayor Bill Masters also reminded council that if it does not support the Lafarge proposal as being an “acceptable alternative” for disposal, AIS has an open application on file with the municipality to dispose of the more that 10 million litres of treated frack water in its holding ponds through the municipal sewer system. Mayor Bob Taylor said he also supports the Lafarge proposal. “This is the best option,” he said. “I have no problem. It’s a trial, it a different story if the stack test doesn’t work.” [Emphasis added]
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