Fracking Waste in CT

Fracking Waste Could Be Coming to Connecticut

By now most people have heard about "fracking", a term shortened from hydrofracturing. Yes, the process produces natural gas used for energy. In fracking water, sand and toxic chemicals are mixed with thousands of gallons of water and injected under high pressure into the dense rock formations such as shale to release the gases. Since the wells are drilled horizontally rather than vertically, the volume of water is tremendous. We don't know the identity of all of the drilling chemicals since some re protected trade secrets. but we do know that they are toxic. In other states where fracking has been going on, groundwater has become contaminated and rivers polluted because of the fracking waste. We also know that some people and animals living near the drilling wells have become sick. 

The disposal of millions of gallons of fracking waste has become a big problem. Consider the testimony of David R. Brown ScD, a public health toxicologist, before the Environment and Technology Committee of the CT Legislature on Senate Bill No. 237, An Act Concerning Banning Fracking Waste in Connecticut, earlier in March:

"When the water containing the fracking chemicals returns to the surface it has been further contaminated with other toxic chemicals and radioactive materials released from shale deposits that are 100s of thousands years old. The gas waste slurry is collected in ponds and tanks prior to disposal. The ponds leak, often the rubber sides of the ponds are torn by the hoofs of deer and other animals attempting to escape after falling or leaping into the waste water. Dead birds and animals are commonly found in the ponds. Waste ponds and tanks release toxic materials into the ground water and the air. As the ground water becomes polluted, drinking water wells are rendered unsafe. People have to seek other sources of water."

Astonishingly the produced water and well cuttings which contain hazardous waste are not classified as hazardous waste due to an exemption granted by Congress to the Oil and Gas industry.

The exemption is passed from the drillers to waste haulers. There is no requirement for safety testing. It essentially enters commerce. The waste can be disposed of in any non-hazardous waste site in any state including CT irrespective of the health and environmental hazards.

The current answer to the question of what to do with fracking waste seems to be to send it to CT.

At this time, both Senate Bill No. 237 and House Bill No. 5308, An Act Concerning the Regulation of Fracking Waste and Fracking By-Products, have been passed out of the Environment and Technology Committee.  The latter bill would allow waste in the state and regulate it as hazardous waste, which would be a disaster. It is imperative that the waste not be allowed in the state.

The support of everyone is needed to have fracking waste banned from entry into our state. Please contact your State Representative and State Senator to let them know how important this issue is to you and that the total ban, SB 237, should be passedTo find your legislator:

Marcia Wilkins
Chapter Conservation Chair