Litchfield voters will have a chance to approve a proposed ordinance banning the use of fracking waste in town.
The vote will be held at a town meeting the Board of Selectmen will be scheduling after receiving a petition with the required 20 signatures of registered voters.
A group of environmentally-conscious residents led by Litchfield High School science teacher Dean Birdsall presented the proposed ordinance to the selectmen on Tuesday. According to the group, fracking waste would pose a threat to public health if used in town.
Fracking waste is the byproduct of hydraulic fracking for oil and natural gas. The waste has been found to contain carcinogenic substances, toxic metals and chemicals, and radioactive elements, Birdsall said in his presentation to the board.
“It is in our best interest as a community to establish an ordinance prohibiting these materials in our town,” Birdsall said in reading a prepared statement. “This is an environmentally and fiscally prudent step that would help protect the health and safety or residents while stipulating that the town can require remediation in response to any violation of the proposed ordinance.”
Selectmen received the proposal and declared it worthy of a town meeting.
Litchfield would join 13 Connecticut towns that have approved ordinances banning the use of fracking waste. Under the proposed ordinance, the use, storage and disposal of waste from oil and gas hydraulic fracking would be banned in Litchfield.
Fracking waste can be a component of the brine used to melt ice on roadways during the winter and for other road-related applications. Use of the waste is banned in Connecticut through 2018 while the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection considers a permanent ban.