Regulate hydrofracturing GIA urges province

The Gulf Islands Alliance has appealed to the BC Ministry of Environment to introduce legislation to regulate hydrofracturing, a ground-water volume-increasing process that involves blasting. The practice, introduced by the oil industry, is used in some domestic wells on the Gulf Islands. Here’s part of the Alliance’s petition:

“No studies have been made by professional hydrogeologists on the impact of hydrofracturing on the region. The islands are small, water is a fragile resource, and domestic wells are vulnerable to salt water intrusion. Hydrofracturing may occur anywhere, without prior notification to neighbours, and with no recourse if a neighbour’s well is depleted by the process or ruined by salt water intrusion.

We support the concerns about hydrofracturing expressed by the Mayne Island Integrated Water Systems Society to the Ministry of Environment and the Ground Water Advisory Board:

  • That no hydrofracturing be permitted, for any reason, within a set distance from the ocean (100 meters minimum distance recommended);
  • That those using a hydrofracturing process be required to test the production capacity of community and private wells within a set circumference before the process begins, at the cost of the well driller. This will enable owners of nearby wells to identify negative effects resulting from hydrofracturing;
  • That all hydrofracturing must be pre-approved by the ministry, recorded on drillers’ reports and maintained as part of the permanent well record;
  • That community and private water providers be given advance notice and an opportunity to comment when hydrofracturing is proposed within or adjacent to a community water system, and
  • That as part of the process to determine what regulations and policies will be adopted that consultation take place with the Islands Trust and with community groups with local knowledge on water issues.

We strongly urge that professional studies be made of the effects of hydrofracturing in the Gulf Islands at the earliest possible date and that each individual well to be hydrofractured in that region require a license from the Ministry of the Environment.”