Town of Amherst bans fracking waste to thaw icy roads

AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB) – Town leaders in Amherst decided Monday to ban crews from using fracking waste to thaw icy roads.

You’ll find what is called production brine in seven counties in the state including Chautauqua County. The Town of Clymer has used it for years. The Town Supervisor there says they’ve never had an issue with it. But leaders in Amherst say it’s bad for the environment and want to put a strict ban on it.

Town Board member Mark Manna said, “How can you be against something which protects our most precious commodity, which is our drinking water and our land? This local law in Amherst does that.”

Manna said the local law denies treatment of fracking fluids by the towns waste water treatment plant. It would ban this production brine from being used as a cheap de-icer on roads in Amherst.

Manna said, “t’s eventually going to find its way into the rivers and streams and the drinking water. And its the health concern of our generation and Amherst needs to get ahead of the curve and ban it from happening.”

The Town Board says the fracking industry doesn’t have to divulge what’s in the product.

“They don’t exactly know what chemicals are used in this brine, and they don’t want to see it end up in area water ways like Ellicot Creek,” Manna said. “We know that it’s poison for our land and our waterway. We don’t know what kind of poison because the fracking industry is allowed to keep the compounds and the makeup of the fracking fluid secret.”

Sara Schultz, from the Amherst anti-fracking group, also supported the strict law.

She said, “The waste water carries naturally radioactive materials and can be very damaging to aquatic life.”

The Amherst Town Board will voted Monday in favor of banning the brine, also backing New York State’s law against fracking.

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