Fracking up the cement industry by Global Cement, December 11, 2013
Water conservation is on the agenda this week with two water-related news stories from the multinational cement producers. First came a story that Lafarge Canada is preparing to run a trial using waste water from hydraulic fracking at its Brookfield cement plant in Nova Scotia. Currently the plant uses 35ML/yr of fresh water from a nearby lake to control temperatures of its rotary cement kiln. Potentially some of this water could be replaced with water produced during the fracking process. This water would then evaporate and be emitted from the stack. The background to this pilot project is that the Nova Scotia regional government introduced a two-year moratorium on fracking in 2012 while it reviews the situation. Given the high level of public debate on fracking, any process using waste products from it is going to receive a high level of attention. One of the major arguments against fracking concerns the toxicity of the fluids used. Hence Lafarge stressed in their statement how safe the waste water would be before it would even be used in the plant. Safe enough to drink apparently. Focusing on the industrial aspects of the pilot for cement production, it will be fascinating to see what effects the fracking waste water might have even just as a coolant on plant equipment. Among other contaminants, fracking waste water often contains high levels of salt. Managing a transition from a fresh water coolant source to a saltier more corrosive one may pose the first of many challenges. [Emphasis added]
Fracking waste water could be used to make cement, Lafarge has applied for pilot project to heat waste water for use in cement-making process by CBC News, December 3, 2013
The Nova Scotia government is considering a proposal that could help get rid of waste water from the hydraulic fracturing or fracking process. The Lafarge cement plant in Brookfield has applied to use the water in its cement-making. There are an estimated 27 million litres of fracking waste water in Nova Scotia. Some of it contains so-called Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials (NORMs). Fracking waste water is stored at the Atlantic Industrial Services facility in Debert, as well as in holding ponds in Kennetcook and Noel. Environment Minister Randy Delorey told CBC News Tuesday afternoon that all fracking waste water being stored in Debert has had NORMs removed to meet acceptible Canadian standards.
Lafarge is proposing to heat the fracking waste water to high temperatures in a kiln which would then be used to help make cement. The company took out a full page ad in the Truro Daily News, informing residents of its plans, but neglected to mention the pilot program involved fracking waste water. That omission has upset some members of Colchester County’s council who say the public needs to be fully informed. Delorey said his department has received an application for the pilot project, but so far no decision has been made. … Delorey also said the department has not flagged any environmental concerns about using the fracking waste water in the cement process. [Emphasis added]
Fracking waste targeted by Michael Gorman, December 3, 2013, Chronicle Herald
During a bill briefing earlier in the day, Environment Minister Randy Delorey said the move is in response to the clear sentiment of Nova Scotians that they don’t want the waste from hydraulic fracturing operations in other provinces brought here. Delorey said there was one case of this happening in 2011, when Atlantic Industrial Services of Debert treated and released water from a fracking operation in New Brunswick. Waste water from a past fracking operation in Kennetcook continues to sit in holding ponds in Kennetcook and the treatment site in Debert. Delorey said the government will have more information on that situation soon. “We actually do have an initiative that we believe will be able to safely treat and dispose of that waste water,” Delorey said, adding he’d provide more information after talking to the community involved and key stakeholders. [Emphasis added]
Brookfield cement plant proposes solution for disposal of frack wastewater by Harry Sullivan, December 02, 2013, Truro Daily News
A proposal by a Brookfield cement plant to participate in a pilot project involving the disposal of frack wastewater is generating concern for Colchester County council. The Lafarge cement plant in Brookfield is proposing to dispose of some fracking wastewater currently stored in Debert by evaporating it at extremely high temperatures in its kiln. As a result, the municipality is planning to send a letter of concern to Lafarge (the company in question), the minister of Environment and the local Department of Environment office (DoE). “I’m not sure if the public knows what this treated wastewater is,” Coun. Geoff Stewart said, in raising the matter for discussion during council’s meeting on Thursday night. “I don’t think they are recycling it, I think they are using it for cooling.” Stewart’s comments were in reference to a full-page advertisement taken out by Lafarge that was published in a recent Truro Daily News. “We’re planning to make an application to Nova Scotia Environment for a test pilot approval to recycle treated wastewater for use in a rotary cement kiln,” the company said as part of the ad’s message. “The application process is rigorous and thorough. It will be carefully reviewed by the agencies entrusted with protecting our environment.” What the ad does not say, however, is that the “treated wastewater” is fracking waste being held in containment lagoons at Atlantic Industrial Services (AIS) in Debert.
Coun. Doug MacInnes said he spoke to Scarth MacDonnell, the plant manager at Lafarge, about the ad but came away with concerns at what he heard. “He explained to me that it was worded that way so that it wouldn’t get the public upset,” the councillor said. And while MacInnes said MacDonnell told him anyone who called to enquire would be provided with more clear information about what is being proposed, he and other councillors nonetheless expressed concern about the way the matter is being handled. While MacInnes said he wants to keep “an open mind” about the possibility of safely disposing of the frack water “because somewhere down the road the waste has to go somewhere,” he said, expressing concern that the company is being less than forthcoming in the early stages of the process. “I bluntly said to him that I think you are starting off on the wrong foot,” MacInnes said. “I think it’s very misleading, I really do.” Deputy Mayor Bill Masters agreed.
“I think the council should go to the Department of Environment and say this does not even come close to letting the residents know what is happening in their backyard,” Masters said, of the ad’s language. “I’m still concerned that the residents out there are not aware or informed of what is going on.” Last summer, council rewrote its sewage use bylaw and rejected an application by AIS to dispose of treated frack waste through the municipal sewer system because of potential dangers to the environment. At that time, council and some residents alike expressed concern about the way the issue has been handled, including the fact that the DoE permitted AIS to truck the waste into the county from East Hants without informing the municipality of the move.
When contacted by the Truro Daily News for comment, however, MacDonnell said he felt his comments to MacInnes had been taken out of context. MacDonnell said MacInnes inquired as to why the company had not used the word “fracking” in the ad’ s headline and “I responded with, ‘I think there is a negative connotation with fracking.’ … “We wanted to make sure that people understood that we were putting ourselves forward as a potential solution provider to this issue of this flowback fluid that people have been dealing with for a couple of years,” he said. “We are going to treat the water in a kiln that takes material up to 1,300 degrees Celius. Complete destruction. If there are any heavy materials or heavy particles they will become sintered in the limestone clinker.” MacDonnell said when the issue around the disposal of the frack water came to light, his company put its name forth as a way to see if there is something it can do to provide an environmentally friendly way to get rid of it. “All of the smart people who have been working on this for some time have not been able to find an acceptable solution. So this is about as good as you are going to get and it’s a low-cost solution,” he said. “If we were trying to hide anything we would not be putting a full page ad into the Truro Daily News.” [Emphasis added]
Nova Scotia government wants to ban dumping of fracking waste in province by The Canadian Press, December 3, 2013, Global News Saskatoon
Waste water from fracking done in other provinces will not be allowed to be dumped in Nova Scotia under new legislation introduced Monday. Environment Minister Randy Delorey says the proposed ban is appropriate because the province has already placed a moratorium on fracking while an independent review is underway. The review is being led by Cape Breton University president David Wheeler. He is expected to release his findings this spring. Meanwhile, Delorey says his department is still trying to figure out what to do with waste water left over from two fracked wells in the Kennetcook area. The wells were drilled and fracked six years ago. Disposal of the waste water was stopped when officials discovered the water contained naturally occurring radiation. [Emphasis added]
N.S. introduces bill to ban import of waste water from shale-gas fracking by The Canadian Press, December 2, 2013, The Globe and Mail
Delorey said the legislation shouldn’t have to be amended once it’s passed, regardless of whether the province decides to allow fracking. “If other jurisdictions want to proceed with hydraulic fracturing and the waste byproduct, we believe it is their responsibility to deal with that waste themselves,” said Delorey. He said Nova Scotia would be responsible for dealing with its own waste. Delorey said the Environment Department is currently trying to deal with waste water from shale gas exploration in Kennetcook six years ago. He said the department should be ready soon to announce what it will do with waste water contained in ponds in Debert and Kennetcook. The initiative was welcomed by Gretchen Fitzgerald of the Atlantic chapter of the Sierra Club of Canada, who said she was excited that the government was paying attention to Nova Scotians who had signed a petition asking for an importation ban. “This will help our entire region look at this issue because I do know there are companies that were speculating that they could count on Nova Scotia being a recipient of their fracking waste,” said Fitzgerald. She said she hoped it was a step on the road to banning fracking in the province altogether. “We are hoping for a ban, because we do know the issue of fracking waste can’t be solved,” she said. [Emphasis added]
Nova Scotia to ban fracking water from New Brunswick, New Brunswick energy minister not fazed by Nova Scotia plan to prohibit importation by CBC News, November 30, 2013
New Brunswick’s energy minister says he’s not bothered by a Nova Scotia plan to ban the importation of hydraulic fracking waste water, and is suggesting new treatment plants could be opened in New Brunswick to deal with the pollution. Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil says a bill to prohibit out-of-province fracking waste is coming in the fall session of the legislature. One New Brunswick company, Corridor Resources Inc., has sent fracking waste water from the Penobsquis area near Sussex, N.B., to a facility in Debert, N.S. But McNeil said given there’s a moratorium on fracking in Nova Scotia, it makes no sense to accept waste water from elsewhere. “If New Brunswick wants to do fracking or any other province wants to do fracking, don’t look to the province of Nova Scotia to deal with your fracking waste,” McNeil said. New Brunswick Energy Minister Craig Leonard says the ban won’t be a big problem for the industry if large-scale development happens. That could include building new waste water plants in New Brunswick, which Leonard said would be subject to strict environmental rules. “Whether that means taking it to other locations, such as Quebec, or establishing their own facilities here, that’ll be all part of that process,” he said. Leonard says Corridor Resources has been using propane instead of water lately, so it’s not as much of an issue at the moment. [Emphasis added]
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Nova Scotia throne speech promises include new holiday, fracking wastewater ban by The Canadian Press, November 28, 2013, Global News
Nova Scotia’s Liberal government says it will introduce bills in the fall legislative sitting to establish a new holiday in February and ban the importation of hydraulic fracturing wastewaster. In its throne speech, the government is promising to bring in 10 pieces of legislation, including one that would amend the province’s contentious first contract arbitration law.