Sheffield sites identified for disposal of fracking waste


Campaigners have identified two sites in Sheffield as possible destinations for fracking waste.

One is the FCC Environment Treatment Facility at Ecclesfield on the northern edge of the city. The other is at Blackburn Meadows, on the banks of the River Don, next to the Meadowhall shopping centre.

Opponents of fracking identified the Ecclesfield site from legal notices posted on security fencing. The notices stated that the site was covered by a temporary injunction granted to the shale company INEOS Upstream.

INEOS has sought the injunction against anti-fracking protests at sites it had either earmarked for shale gas exploration or belonged to companies supplying services and equipment.

David Kesteven, an anti-fracking campaigner from Eckington, in north Derbyshire, said:

The first thing we knew was an injunction notice. This is a glimpse of the enormous environmental impact shale gas will have. It must be stopped before it starts.”

The Environment Agency (EA) confirmed in response to an FOI request that the Ecclesfield site has environmental permits which would allow it to treat waste from hydraulic fracturing operations.

The EA also said treated effluent could then be sent to the sewage works at Blackburn Meadows.

Shale gas prospects

The Sheffield area could see hydraulic fracturing at multiple sites in the next few years.

Shale gas exploration, though not fracking, has been approved in north Nottinghamshire at Tinker Lane, near Blyth, and Springs Road and Misson. INEOS has applied for planning permission for exploration at Harthill in Rotherham borough and Marsh Lane in north east Derbyshire. The company has also said it will seek consent for a third site at Woodsetts, also in Rotherham.

The campaign group, Mosborough Against Fracking, said the transport of liquid waste to Ecclesfield would represent a hazard on local country roads and the M1 motorway. It said:

“A fully fledged industry will result in thousands of wells and produce millions of gallons of contaminated water.”

In the FOI response, the Environment Agency said fracking waste fluid would be treated to precipitate out heavy metals and any other solids to form what’s called a filter cake. This would be dried, tested and sent to a suitable landfill site.

The remaining effluent would be tested and could be sent by sewer to the sewage treatment works at Blackburn Meadows, the EA said. There it would undergo further treatment to remove residual contaminants before final release into watercourses.

Mosborough Against Fracking said:

“Potentially the quality of water in the river Don will be degraded. No one even knows what will be contained in the produced water. HGV [heavy goods vehicle] movements will be massive with all that brings, such as risk of accidents/spillage, congestion, diesel pollution, road damage.”

INEOS statement

A spokesperson for INEOS said:

“INEOS Shale holds itself to the highest possible standards when it comes to safety and environmental responsibility at all of its sites.

“Any waste that will be produced at our sites will be subject to removal methods agreed as part of the permitting process and sent to Environment Agency-approved waste treatment facilities. Each facility is assessed by the EA on a case by case basis to ensure the appropriate measures are in place to protect the surrounding environment.

“These provisions would form part of the Environmental Permit the waste facility operates [under] and are subject to inspection by the EA. The injunctions sought by INEOS cover all suppliers to our shale activities.”

Other treatment sites

Opponents of shale gas developments have found it hard to establish where fracking waste would be treated.

Two other sites emerged during evidence at the public inquiry into Cuadrilla’s fracking plans in Lancashire. Friends of the Earth’s waste witness gave evidence that potential waste treatment centres in northern England were the Castle Environmental facility, at Stoke on Trent, and the FCC Environment site at Knostrop in Leeds. DrillOrDrop report

The “Swansea filter”

Researchers at Swansea University say they have developed a new method which could be used to clean fracking waste.

A paper in the journal, Nature, published last week, suggests that a ceramic membrane with ionically-charged pores attracts a thin layer of water. This adheres to the entire surface of the filter to repel globules of oil and other hydrocarbons. The filter does not foul and so lasts longer and requires lower operating pressures.

Co-author Darren Oatley-Radcliffe, an associated professor at Swansea, told The Engineer:

“Fracking has proved highly controversial in the UK in part as a result of the pollution generated from produced waters.

“However, with this new super-hydrophilic membrane we can clean up this waste produced water to a very high standard and recycle all of the materials, significantly improving the environmental performance of the fracking process.”


13 replies »

  1. Campaigners said this.. Campaigners worry about that.. and so on. Industry produces loads of waste and the Environment Agency are the people who will sort and licence the activities. So the water may have some metals in it? So do other industries. This blathering on about these matters is a bit sad. Especially as 99% of what ‘campaigners say has no basis in law or science.

    The Environment Agency people are experts, its their day to day work. Let them get on with it.
    And as for the Inoes injunctions, great. They would never have got those if there was not loads of evidence of illegal activity to back up their case.

  2. If fracking waste was not properly treated, it would be a scandal. If fracking waste, much like other industrial waste, requires treating, it is a scandal.

    (Lifestyle Improvement Deniers-no wonder the pictures show most of the antis are seeing out their latter years, trying to prevent the younger generation from a better lifestyle and having to pick up the costs.)

    Perhaps the antis should try the acoustic system to deal with the waste, just shriek at it and then blow their horns!

  3. So, when it’s the younger generation protesting (usually on their days off), they are told to get jobs. When the older generation protest, they are told to stop getting in the way of progress. In your view, Martin, between what ages exactly are we allowed to protest?

  4. Well, with injunctions having to be supplied to stop biting, perhaps it should only be denture wearers with the offending gnashers removed?

    However, as that would not stop the other antisocial behaviour, then injunctions will also remove such “protesting” from the local communities so they can have a peaceful life free from the adverse impact of the protestors. You can chat as much as you like about “peaceful” protesting but that is not what has been going on recently and I suspect that injunctions will be the result of that. It could have been avoided but it hasn’t and that is the fault of the protestors, no one else. I have been observing the posts on this site for some while and there has been a growing level of incitement, and anti authority “rhetoric” which is now seen within the anti movement. It is unfortunate for the genuine protestor, but equally the genuine protestor does not seem able, or willing, to control the protests-in some cases, and those cases will increasingly dictate the control of the protests..

    • Can you please provide proof of biting and antisocial behaviour? If protesters were committing offences such as you suggest, then there would be countless arrests. Or are you cherry picking incidents to support your desire to shut down voices against environmental destruction?

    • Martin

      INJUNCTIONS ……..

      Who’s going to enforce them ??? The police force is already overstretched and having to draft in officers from surrounding areas to enforce security at TWO sites.
      As the industry grows, it is inevitable that the FREE state security will have to end. Fracking companies and their suppliers will have to employ their own COSTLY ongoing private security.

      This could be the straw that breaks the Camels back for this industry. I’ve said it before , the will of the people will prevail. NO amount of legislation can override or change that.

      I see there has been NO mention of fracking at the Conservative party conference. Could they now be quietly listening to the will of the people , it will be costly for them at the ballot box if they don’t and they know it …

      Let’s remind ourselves, that of the people that know about fracking, only 16% are in favour of it.. That makes it about as popular as Fox hunting, Whale hunting and the Bubonic plague .

      For the record and just to be clear on the above points I make, I DO NOT SUPPORT any acts of violence against the Police or protesters . Nor do I support any acts of vandalism.

  5. What a load of weasel words!

    First someone who wants to protest, yet does not know that HUNDREDS have been arrested at PNR! That to anyone who has followed the fracking issue is unbelievable. Another flat earth approach. Sorry, if you are that removed from the reality of what has happened and is happening, how do you make a decision to protest-because it certainly is not an informed one.

    Jack-the answer to your question is simple-the courts. If someone wants to break an injunction it is contempt of court and will be treated with the seriousness that demands. Ruth gave the details of that some while ago. It is up to the courts to decide if a situation is serious enough to warrant an injunction and it is then their responsibility to enforce it. You can debate amongst yourselves come that stage as to the evils of the UK courts but it will be meaningless-just a comfort blanket.
    I shouldn’t worry about resources Jack. An injunction makes life a lot easier for police. I don’t think I really need to explain that, it is pretty self evident.

    • HA HA HA Martin ,

      Injunctions…….. Well lets see how far FORCING this industry on people gets,

      It will be a media frenzy, field day when a few elderly pillars of the community are locked up for mistermeaners because they have not strictly abided to the terms of these injunctions … Let’s see how the Fracking industry deals with this PR nightmare.

      In referencecto your above post , YOU TALK ABOUT being removed from reality….. Why is it, that when I put up ANY scientific/medical evidence on this forum, you go strangely quiet ??? ….. That’s what I call being REMOVED FROM REALITY, blindly ignoring the evidence…

      Hundreds of good , honest, genuine , otherwise law abiding people… Arrested and released without charge for misterneaners …. MORE importantly these are VOTING people and although this may not be a major issue to now , because this industry is just trying to find its feet , it will be in the very near future .

      Remember only 16 % of people that know about this industry, support it .

      You know it , I know it , we all know it . THERE IS NOT the available Police resources .. As I have previously said , they are already overstretched with just TWO sites …… This will mean HUGE, YES HUGE financial burdens on what most people already consider to be a Dead Man Walking industry .

  6. Well, Jack. The option is yours. If you want to breach an injunction then you will see if there is resource to deal with it.

    Of course, you can always sit behind your lap top and incite others to do so.

    In terms of your “evidence” I watch with interest as it is constantly dissected by others as being a long way short of “evidence”, selective and without support. I really don’t think it needs my efforts to add to that. After our little discussion around the NT you showed quite clearly you were unwilling, and unable, to follow references. That is your choice, but I see that and react accordingly-it doesn’t make me a bad person, just a realist.

    • Martin,

      I smell a whiff of PIN BADGE and a complete distortion of the truth again.

      As far as our little discussion, or should I say long drawn out debate about the National Trust goes . Should I direct the readers to the Drill Or Drop webpage so they can read for themselves if I as you say, quote, ” am unable to follow references ” should we let the readers decide for a third time Martin ??

      You have no idea if I just, quote, ” sit behind my laptop and incite others ” or whether I am actively involved. What I did make clear in my above post is that I do not support any Violance towards the Police or Protestors , I also do not support any acts of Vandalism.

      COME ON NOW, as you well know and all the readers can bare witness to ….. When I put up my long lists of professors and doctors of medicine, science and engineering and the independent bodies they represent, that are warning us of the dangers of fracking. It rarely, if ever even gets an acknowledgement. It NEVER as you say, quote, ” is constantly dissected by others ”

      Finally , I agree , you are not a bad person.

  7. Treament (or not) of fracking wastewater is a huge issue that could be a ‘showstopper’. Pro-fracking commentators on this page either know nothing about this, or have successfully diverted the conversation onto protest and injunction.

    Read this report on fracking waste water by engineer John Busby:

    Fracking flowback and produced water could have 5x the salinity of seawater, a considerable content of heavy metals (in view of the tiny amounts permissible in effluent) and naturally occurring radioactive materials. The composition of waste flowing back will vary over time.

    It is hard to treat, not least because of the excessively high salinity. It is expensive to treat.You need all sorts of other permits to discharge and dump the products of the treatment, including filtration media. The EA seems fond of rubber-stamping, but all that admin will foul up your office, if you’re in the business of fracking wastewater treatment. Your equipment might get bunged up, scaled up, radioactive… Treatment is such a fag that it’s probably easier to dilute the stuff (with sewage or other industrial effluent containing different contaminants) until it all measure low enough to discharge to rivers, or to the sea. (Sheffield is not best placed.) Better still to persuade the authorities to allow the frackers to inject the stuff down wells, used or new. Never mind the earthquakes and the underground migration. Probably won’t happen for a few years, and by then they will all have scarpered. Are they do I remember intending to inject in Yorkshire? In Sussex and Surrey there’s a plan to truck acidising waste water/produced water from Lidsey to Brockham for disposal down a well. There was a time when the DECC told us that waste water could be injected only into the formation out of which it had come. Now the authorities seem happy to stretch that point. Or maybe that’s another piece of law or regulation that they’ve quietly changed.

    Do read John Busby’s paper:

  8. Let’s not revisit the NT Jack. I had very little interest in todays NT until the Ineos comments started to appear, but I then started to notice various references to the NT within current news and followed them-thinking, as yourself-they would confirm how “loved” they were across the community. Far from it, almost the complete opposite, so I would avoid that one until you have done the same. You could start with “NT-tenants”.

    In terms of your list of references, not a good one, when you have recently referenced media releases by Ineos re car plants as somehow defining how their decisions will be made. Commercial media releases do not define how decisions will be made-certainly not before they are. I have written a few in my time and your take on them would not even be on the list of considerations. Top of the list is usually, do not give away any useful information to competitors.

    No Kathryn, we have not diverted anything. This section is about authorised treatment plants to treat such waste being selected to do what? Err, yes-to treat the waste. It is not going to be pumped through the letter boxes of the local communities, it is to be treated at authorised treatment plants that are set up to do this function. The point about the injunction is not a diversion. It makes clear that Ineos want to conduct their operations properly and they want to avoid some elements from disrupting that to the danger of their operatives and the local population. An injunction should not be needed but recent events suggest that is not the case. The courts will decide going forward whether that continues. I suspect biting may be a factor.

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