ANGELICA, N.Y. -- Hyland Landfill in Allegany Co. was one of several that took a combined 600,000 tons of fracking 'waste' since 2010, according to an updated report from an environmental group.
Fracking is short for hydraulic fracturing and usually refers to the high-volume procedure, in which a gas well is drilled vertically, then horizontally, in order to capture more of the resource. The ground is then fractured to release the gas, and that process comes with lots of controversy.
Environmental Advocates of New York examined data from the state of Pennsylvania, because New York State does not track fracking waste in the same way.
2 On Your Side looked specifically at Hyland and found the landfill took 575.79 tons of solid fracking waste in 2016, on top of 881.22 tons the year before.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation disputes the findings of the report, arguing landfills here in New York State do not accept wastewater or sludges from gas wells. Instead, the landfills accept solid waste, including drill cuttings and mud.
Liz Moran with Environmental Advocates argues that can be just as dangerous.
"There could be mixing taking place at the drilling operation, so it comes in, it looks like drill cuttings, but it's been mixed in with the waste water that has these chemicals that we're concerned about," Moran told 2 On Your Side via Skype from Albany.
The DEC is currently going through a rule-making process to manage solid waste facilities. Moran says the agency should use that opportunity ban fracking waste altogether.
Assemblyman Michael Kearns (D-South Buffalo) has signed onto a bill that would force that action. It would prohibit any fracking waste from going to New York State landfills or water treatment facilities. It would also prohibit the waste from being used to de-ice roads.
"This is a bill dealing with the environment, just basic water, land, our food supply," Kearns said. "I think it's very important."
Kearns said that bill is currently in the Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee. Although the legislative session ends next week, he's hopeful this can pass.
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