Requires the promulgation of regulations requiring treatment works to test waste from hydraulic fracturing operations to test for radioactivity.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the environmental conservation law, in relation to requiring treatment works to test waste from hydraulic fracturing operations to test for radioactivity
PURPOSE: To require treatment facilities to test for radioactivity in hydraulic fracturing waste through the promulgation of regulations set forth by the commissioner after hosting a public hearing.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Section 1: Authorizes the commissioner to promulgate regulations in requiring treatment facilities that handle wastewater to test for radioactivity levels. In addition, identifies tests to be performed on the water, including ingredients found within hydraulic fracturing fluids. Finally, prohibits the acceptance, treatment or discharge of hydraulic fractured produced waste.
Section 2: Effective date of bill.
JUSTIFICATION: In late February/early March 2011, the New York Times published a series of articles documenting the gas drilling industry. In one of the featured articles, the Times discovered never-reported studies by the Environmental Protection Agency and a confidential study by the drilling industry that concluded radioactivity in drilling waste cannot be fully diluted in rivers and other waterways. Perhaps if Pennsylvania was aware of this, they would have enforced extra precautions with handling wastewater and may have ultimately forgone hydraulic fracturing activities.
The level of radioactivity in Pennsylvania's wastewater has sometimes been hundreds or even thousands of times the maximum allowed by the federal standard for drinking water, according to the Times. Most of the 1.3 billion gallons of wastewater produced by Pennsylvania wells over the past three years was sent to treatment plants not equipped to remove many of the toxic materials in drilling waste. In addition, 10 to 40 percent of water sent down wells during hydraulic fracturing activities return to the surface, carrying drilling chemicals, including high levels of salts and natural occurring radioactive materials. Federal studies have shown consumed radioactive waste whether by drinking or eating can cause cancer amongst other health problems.
What is most troubling is the inability of gas drilling regulators to keep up with the gas drilling industry's treatment of wastewater. One regulator feared the more oversight upon gas drilling companies, the less willing they are perceived to report their mistakes.
Since federal and state regulators are allowing most sewage treatment plants to accept drilling waste that has not been tested for radioactivity, it is our intent - should New York State proceed with issuing
permits and allowing for hydraulic fracturing activity - to impose a measure where treatment facilities that will handle wastewater to test for radioactivity before discharging such water into our rivers, which would ultimately supply New York State's drinking water.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2011 - 2012 - S. 4251A - Referred to Environmental Conservation.
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect ninety days after becoming law.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 3397 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE February 1, 2013 ___________Introduced by Sen. ADDABBO -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Environmental Conservation AN ACT to amend the environmental conservation law, in relation to requiring treatment works to test waste from hydraulic fracturing operations to test for radioactivity THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. The environmental conservation law is amended by adding a new section 17-0833 to read as follows: S 17-0833. INDUSTRIAL WASTE FROM HYDRAULIC FRACTURING OPERATIONS. 1. THE COMMISSIONER SHALL, AFTER HOLDING A PUBLIC HEARING WITH DUE NOTICE, PROMULGATE REGULATIONS REQUIRING TREATMENT WORKS WHICH TREAT INDUSTRIAL WASTE FROM HYDRAULIC FRACTURING OPERATIONS CONDUCTED BY A PERMIT HOLDER UNDER TITLE FIVE OF ARTICLE TWENTY-THREE OF THIS CHAPTER TO CAUSE TESTS TO BE PERFORMED ON THE WATER DISCHARGED THEREFROM. 2. FOR PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION, TESTS TO BE PERFORMED ON THE WATER SHALL MEAN WATER SAMPLING TO IDENTIFY COMPOUNDS OR CONTAMINANTS OF CONCERN. COMPOUNDS OR CONTAMINANTS OF CONCERN SHALL INCLUDE INGREDIENTS CONTAINED IN HYDRAULIC FRACTURING FLUIDS AND CHEMICAL TREATMENTS, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, RADIOACTIVE CONTAMINANTS SUCH AS RADIUM AND ANY OTHER CONTAMINANTS IDENTIFIED BY THE DEPARTMENT. 3. NO WASTE FROM HYDRAULIC FRACTURING OPERATIONS OUTSIDE THE STATE OF NEW YORK SHALL BE ACCEPTED, TREATED OR DISCHARGED BY ANY PERMIT HOLDER PURSUANT TO THIS ARTICLE. 4. FOR PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION "HYDRAULIC FRACTURING" MEANS A PROCESS USED TO CREATE FRACTURES IN ROCK BY MAN-MADE FRACTURING TECHNIQUES FOR THE PURPOSES OF STIMULATING NATURAL GAS OR OIL WELL PRODUCTION. S 2. This act shall take effect on the ninetieth day after it shall have become a law; provided, however, that effective immediately, the addition, amendment and/or repeal of any rule or regulation necessary for the implementation of this act on its effective date are authorized and directed to be made and completed on or before such effective date.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD08264-01-3