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Frack Action calls for hazardous classification of hydrofracking waste

photo courtesy of the DEC

By Joyce Kryszak


Buffalo, NY – A recent New York Times report stirred up new concerns about where the waste water from hydraulic fracturing ends up. And what's in it.

Protesters with Frack Action gathered outside New York State Department of Environmental Conservation offices Monday in Albany and Buffalo.

Protesters with Frack Action and Frack Action Buffalo are demanding the DEC take action. The groups want the DEC to ask the governor to issue an executive order classifying the waste as hazardous. That would prevent it from being accepted by traditional water treatment plants.

Buffalo had been accepting fracking water until recently. Rita Yelda is the organizer for Frack Action Buffalo said damage has already been done.

"They were accepting natural gas drilling waste for the last year at least and they release into the Niagara River," said Yelda. "And the Niagara River actually provides water for those who live down stream in Grand Island, Niagara Falls, NY, Tonawanda and North Tonawanda."

The controversial natural gas drilling process formally known as hydraulic fracturing produces waste water that could contain toxins and even radioactive materials. The process is being widely used in Pennsylvania. But according to state DEC spokesman Michael Bopp, there are not any traditional water treatment plants in New York accepting waste from that kind of deep drilling process.

"There are some traditional, low-depth, low volume gas wells in New York that have generated waste water, but it is not comparable in characteristics or volume to what is anticipated relative to Marcellus Shale drilling" said Bopp.

An environmental impact study is currently underway for possible hydrofracking in the Marcellus Shale region of New York. A final draft report is due in June. There will then be a 30-day public comment period.

Bopp said the DEC recognizes that handling of waste water is a major environmental impact and will prepare adequate measures to address that in the report.