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 – and three of these landfills continue to accept this waste. This legislation prohibits oil and gas waste from being disposed of in solid waste management facilities and wastewater treatment plants, and prohibits use of oil and gas waste as a de-icing or dust suppressant on roads.
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.
Oil and gas waste that is spread on roads or disposed of in landfills could easily enter rivers and streams that supply water to millions of people. Given the tremendous risks posed with disposal of oil and gas waste, and damaging staff reductions at DEC over the years, prohibiting this waste from landfill and wastewater treatment facilities, and from being spread on roads, best protects public health and the environment.
This bill amends the environmental conservation law to prohibit the disposal of oil and gas waste in solid waste management facilities and wastewater treatment facilities, and prohibits use of oil and gas waste as a de-icing or dust suppressant on roads.