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It is the opinion of the undersigned that the proposed dumping of brine solution by the Alton Natural Gas Storage Project is an extreme threat to the waterways and aquatic life of Nova Scotia.

In the first Application by Alton Gas, they proposed the creation of 4 underground salt cavern storage areas for natural gas.  At that time a study by Fisheries and Oceans deemed their proposal to dump the created brine solution back into the river to be a possible risk to the aquatic life and stated that much more information was needed.

Since that time, Alton Gas has shifted from its proposed 4 salt caverns to 18, each of which is more than double than the original size cited.  

In the application submitted Alton Gas states that they looked at alternatives for disposal of the brine.  One alternative was the use of this brine solution by the Nova Scotia Department of Highways for de-icing the roads in winter.  Alton stated that the total requirements by this department for all highways in Nova Scotia for one whole year was less than one day's production of brine solution.

A second alternative was to sell the brine solution to salt companies.  They argued again that this was not possible, yet a phone call to one of the salt companies confirmed that the brine could be processed to retrieve the salt and that they would be willing to buy it.  It should be noted that the salt in salt caverns is extremely hard salt.  It is thus higher quality salt and commands the highest price on the salt market.   It also means that brine solution created by high pressure water blasting of the caverns is unlikely to result in a completely dissolved salt. 

The Stewiacke and Shubenacadie Rivers are home to salmon and striped bass, both of which are "at risk" species.  Salmon which do traverse from fresh water to salt have to go through several physiological adaptations to do so.  There is an extremely high likelihood that the disposal of this brine solution in the horrifying amounts proposed will severely and permanently affect these two species.

In addition, the Shubenacadie River flows out to the Cobequid Bay, Minas Basin and Bay of Fundy.  Aided by the legendary high tides of the Bay of Fundy, is it not logical to assume that eventually the disaster sparked in the river will extend into these bodies of water also.  Studies have shown that in certain places salinity of the Minas Basin is 29 to 35 percent.  The salinity of the Dead Sea is 34.2 percent.  The flow of fresh water from rivers such as the Shubenacadie serve to keep the salinity down to a small degree.

The Minas Basin is known for the annual visit by sandpipers on their way to South America.   The sandpipers double their weight before the trip by feeding on corophium volutator (mud shrimp) which are found here.  A major change in salinity will result in the eradication of the volutator.  Yet another threat from this proposed dumping.

This is not an exercise that can be tested and then stopped.  The proposal will result in what could very possibly be permanent and devastating effect on the rivers and the bays and the life within them.



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Concerns About the Alton Natural Gas Storage Project needs your help with “Honourable Randy Delorey: Stop the dumping of brine solution by Alton Gas in the Stewiacke/Shubenacadie rivers.”. Join Concerns About the Alton Natural Gas Storage Project and 1,255 supporters today.