Fracking Wastewater Disposal Plan Could Send Contaminants Over Niagara Falls

Rinaldo Wurglitsch/CC BY 2.0

The contentious debate over hydraulic fracturing for natural gas in New York State just took a turn towards the weird. As Care2 reports, natural gas companies and the Niagara Falls Water Board have agreed to a plan for fracking wastewater disposal that could see the contaminated water dumped into the water supply upstream from Niagara Falls.

Water from the treatment plant would be released into the Niagara River, which flows into Niagara Falls, Lake Ontario, and other Great Lakes communities. Critics say there is no evidence that the Niagara Falls Water Treatment Plant could filter out the radiation or the chemicals found in the wastewater.

That criticism is essentially what a group of scientists recently said regarding the inability of wastewater treatment plants across New York State to handle the type of contamination created by fracking.

Rita Yelda from Food & Water Watch adds, "If this fracking waste is not treated correctly, it could contaminate our water. With the Niagara River already on the 303(d) Clean Water Act list of impaired waterways, we should take a serious look at the risks before looking at the dollar signs."

An interesting potential international law twist here: Since Niagara Falls spans the US-Canada border, if this plan goes forward I wonder if it could not be prevented via international transboundary pollution laws, such as happened with addressing acid rain.

Tags: Fracking | Natural Gas | New York State | Water Conservation

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