The town council will hold a public hearing in January and listen to a presentation from the Food and Water Watch before voting on an ordinance that aims to ban fracking waste from being brought into South Windsor.
Mayor M. Saud Anwar has invited Jennifer Siskind of the watch group to the council’s Jan. 15 meeting. Food and Water Watch has been campaigning for cities and towns across the state to enact bans on the toxic and radioactive waste from fracking operations.
Ordinances have been passed by 33 towns and cities banning the storage or use of fracking waste. 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 from other state could be brought here to be stored, treated or repurposed.
Town Attorney Morris Borea has been working on the ordinance based on one recently passed in Rocky Hill. The proposed ordinance would ban companies from using any fracking waste material in construction projects or bringing it into town for storage.
“That seems to be … the one thing the towns really would have some interest and some concern about of having this stuff spread,” Borea said of the use of the waste in construction. “That would seem to be the most exposure the town would have. There’s also recycling sites and waste treatment facilities that take this waste in. … It would be banned under this type of ordinance.”
Borea said any contractors used by the town would have to certify that they aren’t using reconstituted fracking waste. He also noted that it will be “really difficult for the town to police it.”
“But this is a way you have a law on the books so if you become aware of situations you can do something about it,” he said.
The state has a temporary moratorium on waste produced from fracking while the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection adopts regulations that would govern its disposal and processing. The state has three hazardous waste treatment facilities — in Bridgeport, Meriden and Bristol.
“It’s worthwhile for us to have protections,” Anwar said.
“We have to protect our land. We have to protect our waterways,” added councilwoman Liz Pendleton.