CSG companies ignore water quality guidelines in irrigation reports

Published: November 27, 2013

The Lock the Gate Alliance has accused the coal seam gas industry of failing to test for a range of contaminants that could be expected to be found in produced water from coal seams and produced water from hydraulic fracturing.

Section 4.2.6 of the National Water Quality Guidelines (ANZECC 2000) contains long-term and short-term trigger value concentrations for heavy metals and metalloids in irrigation water and Section 4.2.9 contains trigger values for the radioactive quality of irrigation water, but Lock the Gate says many of these dangerous substances are not tested for, or test results are not released publicly.

An AGL report, for example, on an irrigation trial at Gloucester using CSG water fails to report concentrations and volumes of radioactive, heavy metal and other contaminants including: arsenic, beryllium, cadmium, chromium, cobolt, lead, lithium, mercury, nickel, selenium, radium 226, radium 228, uranium 238, benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylene and other volatile organic compounds.

[Prepared by Fodder King for AGL Upstream Investments Pty Ltd, August 2013. Soil quality monitoring and management - Report 2 - Irrigation (Activities from 1 April to 30 June 2013) Tiedman Irriation Trial. CLICK HERE FOR REPORT

Lock the Gate Alliance president, Drew Hutton, said this was a further sidelining of environmental regulation in New South Wales, and is putting communities at risk.

“Not only have concerns of the New South Wales EPA about the poor quality of irrigation water drawn from coal seams been ignored, the government has not even required the company to list the full range of contaminants recommended under the National Guideline," Mr Hutton said.

“Santos has done the same thing in its report on groundwater quality from the Hoskisson coal seam in the Gunnedah Basin, leaving out heavy metals, volatile organic compounds and radioactive substances.

 [Report prepared by Golder Associates, 18 December 2010. Gunnedah Basin CSG Project - PEL 1 - Kahula Pilot Test GWIS CLICK HERE FOR REPORT

“Why is the NSW government allowing both AGL and Santos to go ahead with work at Gloucester and in the Pilliga state forest when they are so prepared to blithely ignore environmental regulations and to keep crucial information from the people of New South Wales?” Mr Hutton said.

Contact: Drew Hutton 0428 487 110

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