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Fracking firm secure permit to treat contaminated water at site in Sheffield

Fracking campaigner from Sheffield and north Derbyshire outside the FCC site in Ecclesfield. Picture: The Star/Dean Atkins
Fracking campaigner from Sheffield and north Derbyshire outside the FCC site in Ecclesfield. Picture: The Star/Dean Atkins
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Contaminated fracking water could soon be treated and processed in Sheffield, campaigners fear.

Fracking giant INEOS has been granted a permit by the Environment Agency to carry out the work at FCC Environment on Starnhill Close in Ecclesfield.

The High Court Injunction on the gates of FCC. Picture: The Star/Dean Atkins

The High Court Injunction on the gates of FCC. Picture: The Star/Dean Atkins

A High Court injunction has also been granted to stop protesters 'obstructing, impeding or interfering' with work.

High Volume Hydraulic Fracturing - or fracking as it's more commonly known is a controversial method of extracting gas from deep underground. After drilling high volumes of water, chemicals and sand are injected at high pressure to fracture shale rock and release gas.

Water then flows back to the surface containing the original additives plus contaminants such as naturally occurring radioactive materials.Campaigners say disposal of this is a 'major issue' and there are 'not enough UK treatment facilities' to handle a fully implemented shale industry.

Campaigners say the Environment Agency has confirmed INEOS has been granted a permit to carry out the work.

Alan Finney from Sheffield Against Fracking fears that if the treatment works go ahead, the River Don - which has seen a new lease of life - will be polluted.

He said: "Water will be transported from fracking sites by tanker, treated and then passed by sewer to Blackburn Meadows for further treatment before being released into waterways.

"This presents hazards on country roads, the M1 and the roads around Thorpe Hesley and/or Ecclesfield.

"A fully fledged industry will result in thousands of wells and produce millions of gallons of contaminated water. Potentially the quality of water in the River Don will be degraded. No one even knows what will be contained in the produced water.

"HGV movements will be massive with all that brings with risk of accidents, spillage, congestion, diesel pollution and road damage. Contaminated filter cakes will also have to be transported to landfill with the associated environmental risks."

Test drilling sites identified so far in the area are Harthill and Woodsetts near Rotherham, Marsh Lane near Eckington and Tinker Lane and Misson near Doncaster.

Penistone & Stocksbridge MP Angela Smith said: “I believe this notice is part of a national injunction INEOS has taken out to protect its workforce and its businesses from unlawful and dangerous actions. It does not, and rightly so interfere with the right to lawful, peaceful protest.

"While no doubt feeling run high on this issue any protests should be peaceful and within the law and allow businesses and employees go about their lawful business.”

An INEOS spokesman said: "INEOS Shale holds itself to the highest possible standards when it comes to safety and environmental responsibility at all of its sites. Any waste that will be produced at our sites will be subject to removal methods agreed as part of the permitting process and send to Environment Agency-approved waste treatment facilities.

"Each facility is assessed by the EA on a case by case basis to ensure the appropriate measures are in place to protect the surrounding environment. These provisions would form part of the Environmental Permit the waste facility operates and are subject to inspection by the EA. The injunctions sought by INEOS cover all suppliers to our shale activities."