Archive for September, 2011

Fracking Waste Treatment Debate In Niagara Falls

In a report from NBC affiliate wgrz.com, local authorities are debating whether or not to have the Niagara Falls treatment facility take on additional waste water from fracking sources.

Western New Yorkers have good reason to be concerned about this new threat to their clean drinking water supplies.
niagara falls waste water treatment
Apparently, this is yet another story of money VS the environment. Is it really this clear cut? It seems to be. Paul Drof, the Executive Director of the Water Board at the Buffalo Avenue water treatment plant is considering extra revenue from treating fracking waste water. He states that a number of local treatment plants have been closed down over the past 25 years due to a lack of funding. This makes basic economic sense to him as it would bring considerable fracking money to support the plant.

It would seem to me that there would be enough tax revenue to take care of something as basic as water treatment. Isnt this a primary role of government to provide for the basic needs of society like roads and clean water? I suppose thats not where things seem to be headed.

The opposition to this proposal brings some very good arguments. First of all, the existing water treatment plant must be completely retrofitted to handle water from fracking sources. This would be an upfront cost of many millions of dollars.

In addition to the upfront cost, many scientists have mentioned that there is no scientific proof that this water can be effectively treated. This makes the situation look even worse for those concerned about maintaining clean water supplies.

It was beyond the scope of the news article to discuss the root of the problem here fracking itself. More money and time needs to be spent on real long term solutions for our energy needs. Clean, renewable energy is the only real solution here. Fracking is not only a short term idea, it is also obviously very dirty.

Hopefully those in power will start to think a little more long-term.

It IS possible to do that and make money at the same time.

Hurricane Irene may seem like a distant memory for most people on the east coast, especially those that suffered no property damage. However, some towns are experiencing problems at local water treatment facilities.
According to an article from the International Business Times, towns in New Jersey and Vermont experienced some of the worst flooding in years due to Irenes strong winds. This has caused problems at local municipal water treatment plants. These facilities are only capable of handling a certain amount of water at any give time. After severe flooding occurs, the treatment system becomes stressed to a point where water can no longer be effectively treated. This flooding can also cause power outages, water line breaks, and a disruption in the disinfection process.

The end result of this problem is that the towns that are affected must call for a boil-water advisory. This extremely important alert means that tap water is not safe to drink. However, it is supposed to be safe enough for laundering clothes and general bathing. The water most likely contains decent quantities of bacteria that would cause sickness if consumed.

Living in this situation would really make you realize that it is easy to take clean tap water for granted. The most common reaction that most people have in this situation is to flock to their nearest supermarket or convenience store and stock up on bottled water. If you ask me, this is not only unnecessary, but also an environmental waste and an inconvenience. It would be relieving to know that I would not be one of the people fighting for my share of bottled water before stores run out. The simple reason for this is that I own an Aquasana water filter. I would rest assured knowing that my home water filter can handle a little extra bacteria.

This is just another great example where it pays to take more of a proactive approach to life. Too many people seem to only take action when they absolutely need to. The end result of this procrastination is usually means more money lost and time wasted. The point is that those affected by this storm (and anyone who relies on tap water) could have thought about potential tap water quality issues ahead of time. I still find it hard to believe how many people take access to clean water for granted, especially in America. Its too bad that it takes a potential emergency situation to make people a little more aware of how unstable our way of life can be sometimes.