Alton Natural Gas Storage Limited is developing a huge storage site for hydrocarbons (natural gas and others) in Brentwood, Colchester County, Nova Scotia. They will use water from the Shubenacadie River to flush out underground salt deposits. “During construction of the caverns, brine will be released into a constructed channel connected to the Shubenacadie River where it will mix with the tidal (brackish) river water to maximize dilution.”¹ It will be directly discharged into the Shubenacadie River through the channel. The amount of salt from these caverns amounts to over 8 million cubic yards – 500,000 dump truck loads, depending upon how many caverns are created.
Photo taken with a drone, showing the channel created by Alton Gas. As you can see from the picture the channel is connected directly to the Shubenacadie River. Treaty Island, created by the construction of the channel is also visible.
This is of great concern to Mi’kmaq citizens, fishers, local landowners, environmental organizations and allies since this unique river ecosystem is home to several endangered and at risk species. The discharge site is near the mouth of the Stewiacke River, one of the last breeding grounds for striped Bass and also habitat for endangered Atlantic Salmon.
Despite continued outcry and court challenges from First Nations, local landowners and fishers regarding the lack of consultation and meaningful environmental assessments, the company has received all necessary approval. An overruling by the Minister of Environment, Premier or Federal Critical Habitat designation could still stop the project before the brine dumping takes place.