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Clinton County Passes New York’s Most Comprehensive Fracking Waste Ban


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Kathryn Rumbles, Riverkeeper Legal Intern

iStock_De-icer200The Clinton County legislature recently approved the State’s most rigorous fracking waste ban, which prohibits landfills and wastewater treatment plants from accepting fracking waste, and bans the spreading of fracking waste on all roads within the county. Clinton joins at least 13 other New York counties in passing fracking waste bans.

Hydraulic fracturing (or fracking) produces large amounts of liquid and solid waste, which can contain harmful pollutants, including chloride, benzene, toluene, and naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORMS). These contaminants make it unsafe to dispose of fracking waste at either landfills or wastewater treatment plants unequipped to handle them. New York landfills have accepted fracking waste, including waste from neighboring Pennsylvania. In addition, leachate from the landfills is often sent to nearby wastewater treatment plants. Finally, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation allows the use of low-volume fracking waste on roads and highways for de-icing, dust control, and road stabilization. If not properly controlled, contaminants from fracking waste can then seep into surrounding rivers, streams and reservoirs, threatening New York’s drinking water.

Clinton County’s recent ban prohibits three methods of reuse and disposal, including spreading fracking waste on roads or property, disposal of such waste at solid waste management facilities, and disposal at wastewater treatment plants. In addition, any storage, treatment, sale or handling of the waste is banned throughout the county. The ban follows Riverkeeper’s model legislation, available on our website.

Riverkeeper congratulates Clinton County on passing the most comprehensive fracking waste ban yet passed in New York, and for setting a new standard for the rest of the State. Contact your local legislators today and urge them to follow Clinton County’s lead.

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