Senator ROBERT M. GORDON
District 38 (Bergen and Passaic)
Senator CHRISTOPHER "KIP" BATEMAN
District 16 (Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex and Somerset)
Senators Beck, Cunningham, Greenstein, Lesniak, Pou, Rice, Singer, B.Smith, Turner, P.Barnes, III and Weinberg
Prohibits treatment, discharge, disposal, or storage of wastewater, wastewater solids, sludge, drill cuttings or other byproducts from natural gas exploration or production using hydraulic fracturing.
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
An Act concerning wastewater, wastewater solids, sludge, drill cuttings and other byproducts from certain drilling techniques and supplementing P.L.1977, c.74 (C.58:10A-1 et seq.).
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. The Legislature finds and declares that the practice of the drilling technique of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas exploration and production has been found to use a variety of contaminating chemicals and materials; that the drilling technique uses vast quantities of water mixed with chemicals and solids pumped into shale formations at high pressure to fracture the shale formations; that millions of gallons of contaminated water flow back out of the well; and that the companies engaging in the use of this drilling technique have been less than forthcoming in revealing the “cocktail” of chemicals and their concentrations and volume.
The Legislature further finds and declares that the treatment of wastewater, wastewater solids, sludge, drill cuttings or other byproducts from the hydraulic fracturing process poses financial, operational, health, and environmental risks to the citizens of the State; that the high concentrations of solids present in hydraulic fracturing wastewater and other wastes may include calcium, magnesium, phosphates, nitrates, sulphates, chloride, barium, cadmium, strontium, dissolved organics such as benzene and toluene, and copper, which would interfere with the processes of wastewater treatment plants by inhibiting the anaerobic digestion processes and disrupting the biological digestion processes; that the heavy metals present may precipitate during the treatment process and contaminate biosolids from the plant, which would require expensive decontamination of drying beds or prevent the usual methods for reuse or disposal of those biosolids; and that no federal or State standards have been adopted governing the treatment and disposal of hydraulic fracturing wastes.
The Legislature further finds and declares that in addition to the chemicals and solids used in the well drilling process, the United States Environmental Protection Agency has noted that radioactive materials have been found in "fairly high concentrations" in hydraulic fracturing wastewater and hydraulic fracturing wastes; that wastewater treatment plants are not designed to treat for radioactivity; that not only does wastewater contaminated with radionuclides pose a risk to public drinking water supplies if not properly treated, but those radioactive materials may also form deposits over time in equipment and pipes which would cause a health risk to plant workers; and that radioactive materials, as well as heavy metals and other toxic materials, present in hydraulic fracturing wastewater pose a risk of contamination of the treatment plant's biosolids.
The Legislature further finds and declares that in addition to the dangers and uncertainties for wastewater treatment plants, other wastes from the hydraulic fracturing process such as drilling mud, drill cuttings, sludge and concentrated byproducts pose a danger to the environment and the health and safety of the citizens of the State; that the chemical content of wastes from hydraulic fracturing varies based on location of the well and the chemicals injected; that the regulatory requirements for ultimate treatment and disposal of such waste are not clear with regard to whether it may be disposed of at a landfill or must be treated at a wastewater treatment facility; that such waste has been exempted from many federal hazardous waste laws even though it contains hazardous materials; that the waste has been sent to landfills and hazardous waste processing or recycling facilities even though some of the waste contains concentrated radioactive liquids, hydrocarbons and toxic pollutants; and that landfills and treatment facilities in the State are not designed to accept or treat radioactive materials.
The Legislature therefore determines, in light of the State's small size, population density, and heavy reliance on surface waters for drinking water purposes, that it is prudent and in the best interest of the health, safety and welfare of the people of the State of New Jersey to prohibit the treatment, discharge, disposal, or storage of wastewater, wastewater solids, sludge, drill cuttings or other byproducts resulting from hydraulic fracturing.
2. As used in this act, “hydraulic fracturing” means the drilling technique of expanding existing fractures or creating new fractures in rock by injecting water, often with chemicals, sand, or other substances, and often under pressure, into or underneath the surface of the rock for purposes including, but not necessarily limited to, well drilling and natural gas exploration and production. The term “hydraulic fracturing” shall include “fracking,” “hydrofracking,” “hydrofracturing,” and other colloquial terms for this drilling technique.
3. No wastewater, wastewater solids, sludge, drill cuttings or other byproducts resulting from hydraulic fracturing for the purpose of natural gas exploration or production in any state may be treated, discharged, disposed of, or stored in the State.
4. This act shall take effect immediately.
This bill prohibits, in New Jersey, the treatment, discharge, disposal, or storage of any wastewater, wastewater solids, sludge, drill cuttings or other byproducts resulting from hydraulic fracturing for the purpose of natural gas exploration or production in any state.