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Toxic Fracking Waste Could End Up In Niagara Falls

Toxic Fracking Waste Could End Up In Niagara Falls

Local residents are alarmed by a deal between natural gas companies and the Niagara Falls Water Board that could mean toxic hydraulic fracturing waste will be released into the water supply just a few miles upstream from the massive Niagara Falls international waterfall.

When large industrial firms fled the recession-stricken area, the Niagara Falls Water Treatment Plant was left operating far below capacity. Loss of revenue led the town to become the first in New York State to agree to process fracking waste.

Fracking fluid consists primarily of water, sand and a cocktail of chemicals that includes many toxins and known carcinogens: methanol, ethylene glycol, formaldehyde, napthalene, benzene, toluene and xylene. The fracking process has also been known to release radioactive elements such as radon and uranium into the waste.

Niagara Falls residents and environmental groups crammed into the September meeting of the Niagara Falls Water Board to voice their concerns about the town’s motivation for pursuing such deal.

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.

New York Department of Conservation Commissioner Martens has directly stated that no wastewater treatment plants in the state are equipped to treat or permitted to accept wastewater with the range of contaminants expected to be in the fluids produced from high-volume hydraulic fracturing. Costly upgrades for the plant, as well as increased costs for infrastructure repairs from excess truck traffic, are immediate concerns for an already struggling local economy.

“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,” said Rita Yelda of Food & Water Watch. “We don’t want this to be another ‘Love Canal’. This region is known for its tourism and beautiful natural landmarks. Why would we risk that?”

Last year, New York declared a year-long ban on fracking operations so officials could study  its potential impacts on human and environmental health. In July 2011, the state Department of Environmental Protection recommended lifting the ban and regulating drilling despite lingering questions about public safety.

Those in the area are invited to voice their concerns at the October meeting of the Niagara Falls Water Treatment Board tomorrow. The meeting takes place at Niagara Falls Water Treatment Plant, 5815 Buffalo Ave, Niagara Falls, at 5 pm.

Related Reading:

Pickens Thinks New Yorkers Don’t Understand Fracking

Sewage Plant Fire Befouls NY’s Hudson and Harlem Rivers

Yellowstone River Spill Shows Dangers Of Keystone XL

Image Credit: Flickr – Kevin Timothy

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67 comments

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10:54AM PDT on Jun 8, 2012

I agree with Lori... GOD HELP US.... But we have to Help him Help Us.. FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT! FOR NO FRACKING. I never have been one to Stand up and Voice my opinion about wrong things going on in this USA... but it's obvious Fracking Natural Gas is only good for the Big Companies making money off this kind of mining. PRESIDENT OBAMA... I CHALLENGE YOU TO STAND UP TO THESE COMPANIES BEFORE YOUR DAUGHTERS, WIFE, MOTHER INLAW, FAMILY THE NATIONS PEOPLE GET SICK FROM CORPORATE GREED! IF YOU ALLOW THIS KIND OF MINING, THEN WHAT ARE WE DOING ABOUT OUR LEADERS TODAY? THEY JUST THINK ABOUT THE MONEY AND NOT THE LIVES OF THE PEOPLE IN THIS NATION, AND OUTSIDE OF IT. I THINK ALL OF YOU SHOULD GET OUT OF THE OFFICE, AND HEAD TO THE LANDS WHERE FRACKING IS ALLOWED, YOU DRINK THE WATER, AND INHALE THEIR AIR..

2:43PM PDT on Apr 23, 2012

God help us.

5:25PM PDT on Mar 25, 2012

I live 20 min from Niagara Falls As of this writing, I believe the wastewater was no longer coming here. A small star for the environment. Pennsylvannia and ohio groundwaters are becoming more and more contaminated from fracking People have to abandon their homes .The ones that don't,have no water,but they voted for it. The people sold out for the money, now their health and lives are at stake

9:44PM PDT on Mar 24, 2012

Okay i thought this was suppose to be, an historical place, not a toxic waste?

5:49AM PST on Dec 12, 2011

No! Niagara shouldn't be treating waste caused by Fracking. There shouldn't be any hydraulicfracking done at all in NYS, or any place else in the U.S.!
WARNING: Open all doors and windows before taking a shower!
WARNING: Use cold water only!

8:27PM PST on Dec 4, 2011

Fracking is proving to be a dangerous venture, with consequences that last over time, causing contamination of water tables and affecting wildlife and human beings. I hope it will be banned in British Columbia where I live and elsewhere. In the meantime, the effluent from fracking wastes ought to be treated with utmost care. Marion Cumming

6:11AM PST on Nov 27, 2011

Oh NO!

6:07AM PST on Nov 9, 2011

Who need terroist when we have greedy politicians and coporations.

11:28PM PST on Nov 7, 2011

The frackers couldn't go through Syracuse as Gov. Cuomo says that it is "protected". So instead one of the worlds wonders is chosen to send this poison to which in turn will end up in our Great Lakes and our drinking water. Nobody wants this except big business. They want to pollute the last stronghold of fresh water in the United States via a natural wonder. These guys are part of the 1% also and I guarantee that they do not live near Buffalo. Their initial plan was to dump the waste into one of our Finger Lakes until it was pointed out that the Finger Lakes are all connected and part of the drinking water for most of New York. They always find another way We have got to stop them someway....somehow!.

7:19PM PST on Nov 6, 2011

STOP THE MADNESS!!!

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