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Glastonbury Town Council Bans Fracking Waste

Peter Marteka
Contact ReporterNature's Path & Way To Go

— The town council passed an ordinance banning the storage or use of waste from hydraulic fracturing — or fracking — in town.

Fracking is a technique used by the energy industry to extract oil and gas from rock by injecting high-pressure mixtures of water, sand or gravel and chemicals.

Although no fracking is taking place in Connecticut, the waste could be brought to the state and stored, treated or repurposed.

The council unanimously approved the ban recently, joining 20 other towns and cities across the state including neighboring Portland.

The state has a temporary moratorium on waste produced from fracking while the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection adopts regulations that would govern its disposal and processing. The state has three hazardous waste treatment facilities — Bridgeport, Meriden and Bristol.

Jennifer Siskind, who led a local grass-roots effort to get the council to enact the ban, said the state legislature has failed to pass a statewide ban three times in the past five years.

"It opens us up to have this waste sent to the three hazardous treatment facilities," she said.

Fracking waste has been used by some towns as a road de-icer and on construction sites as fill.

Town Manager Richard J. Johnson said while the ordinance will prevent the waste from being stored or used in town, the material could still be transported through Glastonbury. He also noted that like all ordinances, any violations will be mostly complaint driven although the ban will be included on wetland and building permits. Violations would come with a $250 fine.

Councilman Thomas P. Gullotta said the ordinance will "make it clear to somebody who is going to be engaging in a fill project or some kind of a building project that they are not supposed to be using fracking waste."

"We didn't have any business owners or any people come in and say, 'You know I really have an economic interest in storing this' or 'I would like the right to be able to store this and make money off it,'" said Councilwoman Cara T. Keefe, a member of the ordinance subcommittee. "We didn't hear from any of those people ... we heard from people who don't want it in our town."

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