Waste water worries spark fracking road closure

Campaigners locked themselves together at the Preston New Road fracking site near Little Plumpton to protest about fracking and its possible effects on water
Campaigners locked themselves together at the Preston New Road fracking site near Little Plumpton to protest about fracking and its possible effects on water
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Police set up a contra-flow system on the Preston New Road after five women from Leeds staged a lock-on protest at the fracking site near Little Plumpton.

The women, part of the month-long series of protests from environmentalist group Reclaim the Power, said they had locked themselves on to devices on the road across the front entrance of Cuadrilla's shale gas drilling site to disrupt work for the day in order to call for an end to fossil fuel extraction and a development in renewables.

The women also said they had travelled from Leeds for fear of impact on water supplies and treatment after discovering that Cuadrilla was likely to be sending waste water from drill sites to the Knostrop water treatment works in Leeds.

They say that millions of gallons of water will be needed for fracking which would then be pumped back out from deep underground contaminated with heavy metals and low level radioactive waste which would need cleaning up at treatment sites.

Coralie Datta one of the activists at the site said concerns around fracking waste water have existed since Cuadrilla discharged two million gallons into the Manchester Ship Canal after being processed at the Davyhulme treatment works in Trafford in 2014.

She said: “In countries where fracking is already happened there are repeat cases of water contamination, both in the ground and during the treatment process.

"The process of treating post-fracking water in the UK is unknown but Leeds’ Knostrop treatment works is one of the few sites in the UK that has been designated to take fracked water and that is a huge concern to me.”

Skye Golding, one of the women locked on said: “We’re here today to stand with the local community, but also to think about the bigger picture. Across the world there are 300,000 lives lost a year as a direct impact of climate change and this will only increase with the development of a new fossil fuel industry.

"Those least responsible for global warming are the most affected. They did not ask for these impacts, just as the community of Lancashire did not ask for fracking."

Police at the scene were busy cutting the protesters free from the lock-on devices. They warned: "Please be aware a contraflow has been implemented with temporary lights past the fracking site on the A583 Preston New Road. Delays are expected."

Replying to the worries over waste water treatment, Lee Petts, environmental expert at Remsol said: "Wastewater from Cuadrilla's Preese Hall test well was appropriately treated at United Utilities' Davyhulme plant, which then lawfully discharged clean 'final effluent' into the Manchester Ship Canal in accordance with its environmental permit.

“Davyhulme processes sewage flows of around 6,600 gallons a second, which means the total quantity of fracking wastewater accepted at the site over many months in 2011 is the equivalent of just 5 minutes’ worth of normal daily inputs.

"Any waste water from the shale gas site at Preston New Road will be treated by an appropriately permitted industrial waste facility. For example, the Knostrop site in Leeds already accepts and deals with similar wastewater from the upstream oil and gas industry, and from other extractive processes, and so people can be confident of its ability, if required, to accept and deal with fracking wastewater."