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Fracking waterlines will require Mountain View County resident notification

Mountain View County's new road use agreements will now apply to above-ground waterlines in road allowances for oilfield operations
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MOUNTAIN VIEW COUNTY - Council has approved an administration request to include temporary above-ground waterline agreements within the municipality’s master road use agreements.

The move was made by way of motion at the recent regularly scheduled council meeting, held in person and on Zoom.

Typically placed in ditches, the lines are used to bring water to oilfield fracking operations under licence from the province. Fracking involves the injection of high-pressure water and other fluids down wells to create cracks in rock formations as part of the oil recovery process.

In October council instructed administration to bring back information regarding the temporary waterlines. Administration reported back at the Nov. 17 council meeting.

“In response to this request, operational services contacted surrounding rural municipalities to obtain information on their best practices regarding temporary above-ground waterlines,” said Ryan Morrison, director of operations.

“The majority of municipalities contacted promote the use of the waterlines. The consensus is that transporting the water with waterlines is safer and causes less damage than the equivalent number of trucks required to haul this quality of water. An average frac requires 19,000 cubic metres of water. This is equivalent to approximately 700 truck loads.”

The county’s above-ground waterline in road allowance agreements will include a number of provisions and conditions, including the following:

• All affected residents along the route must be notified 48 hours prior to commencing placement of any temporary above-ground waterline. Notification to residents will be the responsibility of the company.

• The installation of any temporary above-ground waterline and the use of any road allowances located within Mountain View County will comply with all legislation and statutory regulations related to the use of municipal road allowances including, without limiting the generality thereof, the regulations of the county.

• The company shall, upon placing any temporary above-ground waterline or foreign materials within a county road allowance, duly advise Mountain View County of the completion of same in writing.

• The county may establish additional conditions to accompany the approval at its complete and unfettered discretion.

Coun. Alan Miller said he much prefers the use of the waterlines rather than trucking water to the drilling sites.

The requirement to enter into the new road use agreements applies only to oil and gas companies and do not apply to agricultural producers, members heard.