NY Republican Senator Introduces Fracking Wastewater Bill

On the issue of hydraulic fracturing and shale gas drilling, the New York Republican party keeps shooting itself in the head. The latest example is a ridiculous bill just introduced into the state legislature by Long Island Republican Senator Jack Martins, 7th Senate District:

Senator Jack M. Martins has introduced a bill that prohibits the storing and processing of hydraulic-fracturing waste water in areas of New York State where drinking water is derived primarily from a sole source aquifer, including Nassau and Suffolk counties.

The process of hydraulic-fracturing involves injecting water along with chemicals into shale rock formation at high pressure to release natural gas. Senator Martins’ bill (S.6583) will ban the treatment, storage or processing of that drilling fluid as well as any waste resulting from the exploration, development, extraction or production of crude oil or natural gas, in areas that rely primarily on a single water source.

The bill is particularly important for Long Island communities. Surrounded by saltwater, Long Island derives its drinking water from groundwater.

In fact, Nassau and Suffolk counties depend on a sole source aquifer for drinking water and consume an estimated 375 million gallons of water per day just from this source. This bill’s goal is to safeguard this extremely sensitive sole source aquifer that Long Island relies on.

“I’m clearly not alone in my concern about the possibility of hydraulic fracturing chemicals seeping into our drinking water. Frankly speaking, we can’t afford a mishap with hazardous waste, certainly not in areas that rely on a sole source for water. It makes no sense to take a chance that could have tragic results for our environment. This bill makes sure that kind of mistake never happens.”*

Why ridiculous? Almost all fracking wastewater is now recycled, and for wastewater not recycled, do you think drillers will haul it all the way from upstate NY to Long Island to get rid of it? Really?? The real hazard is that ill-thought-out legislation like this will possibly prevent drilling in some upstate communities, and it perpetuates the false notion that fracking wastewater is in the same league with things like nuclear waste.

*Manhasset Press (Mar 9, 2012) – Bill Introduced to Protect Drinking Water from Hydro-Fracking Waste

  • Anonymous

    Long Island is just a 3-4 hour ride from potential fracking sites. I guess the Senator is worried they could haul it down to the several sewage treatment plants to be “cleaned”. Highly unlikely but still a possiblity. His wording makes it seem like a truck will come down the L.I.E open it’s spigot and dump it’s load on the roadway. Another “Lawmaker” who has not done his homework on the processing of fracking fluids. Dolt! 

  • Anonymous

       Every spring New Yorkers are “treated” to an avalanche of these “one house” bills that are meant to get good local press for the pol. (note that this appeared in the Manhasset Press) but go no where.  Senator Martins may be more cynical than clueless.
       Ultimately the blame for this nonsense falls on the DEC.  In the SGEIS Appendix 21, there is a list of 89 Public Operated Treatment Works with Approved Pretreatment that DEC cites as being able to accept frack waste under state law.  (Most likely this has been included to give the illusion that NYS has the capacity to handle these wastes once the SGEIS is finalized, even though only one or two of these POTW actually accept drilling waste.)  Four of these POTWs are in Nassau.  You should do your homework.
       Despite numerous criticisms of this in the dSGEIS, including my own, this appendix remains in the rdSGEIS.  To point up how unrealistic the SGEIS is on the handling of frack waste, Appendix 21 also includes a list of 45 POTW with approved mini-pretreatments, including a few in the watersheds of the NYC reservoirs.  Ultimately all these pretreatments may become illegal because in EPA is scheduled to release long overdue requirements for PTOW that accept drilling waste.