Banning Fracking Waste

Environmental Advocates Support this Bill

Explanation: 

When the process of high-volume hydraulic fracturing (fracking) was banned officially in June 2015, many assumed that the hazardous waste associated with the process would no longer be a threat for New Yorkers. Unfortunately, that is not the case.

Since 2010, over 600,000 tons of fracking waste from Pennsylvania drilling operations have been disposed in five New York landfills, putting ground and surface water at risk. This legislation prohibits high-volume fracking waste from being disposed of in solid waste management facilities and wastewater treatment plants.

Over 300 different chemicals have been reported to be used in fracking operations that can be found in the waste, including, but not limited to benzene, toluene, and formaldehyde. Many of these chemicals are known or suspected carcinogens. Fracking waste may also contain naturally occurring corrosive salts, heavy metals, and radioactive materials. Waste from traditional oil and gas drilling often has the same dangerous makeup.

Environmental Advocates has a couple recommendations to strengthen this legislation:

  1. Define “high volume hydraulic fracturing waste” in the legislation. Currently, this is not defined in existing state laws or regulations and needs specification.
  2. Expand this legislation to include drilling and production waste, as defined in 6 NYCRR Part 360.2.

Fracking waste disposed of in landfills and waste water treatment facilities could lead to dangerous chemicals to enter rivers and streams that supply water to millions of people. This bill takes an important step to prevent this from happening.

Summary: 

This bill amends the environmental conservation law to prohibit the disposal of high-volume hydraulic fracturing waste in solid waste management facilities and wastewater treatment facilities.   

Memo #: 

82