Thursday, 26 July 2012

Metgasco CSG waste water contaminated with salt and heavy metals

Coal Seam Gas News 26 July 2012

Lock the Gate Northern Rivers has today revealed that a sample of wastewater from a Metgasco coal seam gas wastewater storage pond has been found to contain high levels of a range of heavy metals toxic to humans and wildlife. The sample was analysed at the NATA accredited EAL laboratory in Lismore (sample results and comparison with Drinking Water and ANZECC Environmental Guidelines attached).

This finding follows on from repeated claims by Metgasco that their CSG produced water is just ‘salty’ and the release of company data last week suggesting that, apart from the salt levels, the water meets drinking water standards.

‘These pond sample results confirm that there are indeed a range of toxic substances in addition to salts in the wastewater produced in Metgasco’s coal seam gas operations and stored in ponds around Casino,’ said Boudicca Cerese, spokesperson for Lock the Gate Northern Rivers.

‘The tests found 13 elements present in the sample at levels above the Drinking Water Standards, the majority of them heavy metals. Ten of these substances were also above the allowable limits for maintenance of healthy freshwater ecosystems.’

‘Many of these substances are well known for their toxicity and their release into local waterways via the sewage treatment plant or onto agricultural lands poses a serious threat to humans, domestic stock and wildlife.’

‘Aluminium, a neurotoxic linked with the onset of dementia and Alzheimers, was detected at 440 times drinking water standards and 800 times the allowable environmental limits. At elevated concentrations aluminium can be lethal to fish and other aquatic organisms and the animals that consume them,’ said Ms. Cerese.

‘Lead, a cumulative poison that can severely affect the central nervous system, was measured at 7 times drinking water standards and 20 times the safe environmental limit. Lead is renowned for its effects on children’s development and has been shown to cause cancer in animals.’

‘The sampling found levels of hexavalent chromium 50 times the guideline level required to protect waterways. Hexavalent chromium is known to cause lung cancer in humans and also adversely affects aquatic and marine life,’ she said.

‘The sample results clearly show that the community cannot rely on the water quality results provided by Metgasco and that there is an urgent need for state government authorities to undertake rigorous independent testing of all Metgasco’s ponds prior to any further actions regarding treatment and disposal of this wastewater,’ said Ms. Cerese.

‘In addition, these results sound a warning bell for the future, as the treatment and disposal of the vast quantities of water extracted in future CSG production will mean the accumulation of thousands of tonnes of chemical laden salts, potentially severely impacting ground and surface water quality, and putting at risk public, livestock and wildlife health.

‘Plans to use this water in agriculture or to reinject produced water back into the ground are a dangerous notion, one which will backfire on future generations,’ she said

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Thursday, 12 July 2012

Clarence River catchment under threat from greedy miners endorsed by NSW O'Farrell Government

Coffs Coast Independent 12 July 2012:

ACCORDING to the Mid North Coast Greens, five mining exploration licences cover the headwaters of the Orara and the Nymboida Rivers - which are the drinking water catchments for approximately 150,000 people between Yamba and Sawtell.

"Minerals known to occur in the ore bodies being targeted include mercury, antimony, arsenic and lead. All are highly toxic minerals that pose a great contamination risk to the water supply for the region," the MNC Greens said in a statement......

"The Dorrigo Plateau is renowned as the highest rainfall district in NSW. From Ulong and Lowanna to Dundurrabin these headwaters provide most of the flow to the mighty Clarence River," Dr Sally Townley, mayoral candidate for Coffs Harbour City Council said.

"These catchments not only supply drinking water, they are the lifeblood of the tourism industry, the fishing industry and the cane industry. In the tourism industry alone there are more than 3500 permanent jobs completely dependent upon the health of the Clarence River." ......

"Mineral exploration leases and exploration activities occurring across the catchments pose a real and present danger of mercury and lead contamination if urgent action is not taken," Dr Kaye said.

"The catchment is already carrying the legacy of a history of inappropriate mining at Wild Cattle Creek. The entire Macleay River is heavily contaminated with arsenic and antimony from mining at Hillgrove east of Armidale.

"Contamination is a one way street. Once heavy metals have poisoned a supply, it is almost impossible to protect the health of future users.

"The Dorrigo Plateau must be declared off-limits to mining and mineral exploration." ......

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Thursday, 5 July 2012

Is Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott building a case to dam NSW coastal rivers?

The Coalition will invest in new and upgraded dams

The Coalition will invest in Australia's future water security. Australia has been let down by a failure to plan for Australia's long-term water needs.

 State Labor governments have made poor investment decisions, deciding to pour billions of dollars into desalination plants which have contributed to the 60 per cent rise in water prices since Labor came to power in 2007.

 As a result, the long-term planning to secure Australia's water future has not been done. Crucial infrastructure in water assets takes decades to plan for.

The Coalition will invest in the water supply options that Labor has ignored during its time in government.

 Dams can provide reliable water supplies for cities, underpin the economic development of the agriculture, manufacturing and mining sectors, provide a low-emission source of electricity and mitigate the effects of flood.

Australia has not built a large dam for over 20 years. If we don't start planning for new investments now, then our water storage capacity will fall considerably over the next 20 years. That's why the Coalition's Dams Taskforce is looking at potential investments in Dam capacity across the country.

 Compared to 20 years ago, the amount of water we can store per person has fallen considerably. In 1990 Australia could store in its dams over 4.5 ML per person. Due to a lack of investment in dams, we can now only store 3.5 ML per person. By 2050, if no more dams are built, it will fall below 2.5 ML per person.

[COALITION SPEAKER'S NOTES Current as at 1 July 2012]

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Monday, 2 July 2012

Clarence Valley comes a step closer to locking the gate against coal seam gas mining

CLARENCE VALLEY COUNCIL RESOLUTION – 14.005/12 at the Ordinary Monthly Meeting on 26 June 2012:

That :

1. Further to its resolution of 12 July 2011 and 21 February 2012, Clarence Valley Council calls on the NSW State Government to immediately place a moratorium on all coal seam gas (CSG) exploration including all forms of unconventional gas extraction within the Clarence Valley local government area until appropriate State Legislation is enacted.
2. The State Government is urged to adopt appropriate policies and implement land use legislation which will effectively control and regulate the CSG industry and safeguard water, food and environmental security for future generations.
3. Development of such policy and legislation be predicated on:-
a) Gaining accurate scientific data on CSG extraction impacts;
b) The Government’s prompt and diligent consideration and implementation of the 35Recommendations contained in the 1 May 2012 CSG Report of the Legislative Council General Purpose Standing Committee No 5; and
c) Appropriate consideration of submissions received to the Draft Strategic Regional Land Use Plans for the Upper Hunter and North West of NSW.
4. Council notes the list of roads handed to Mayor Williamson at the regional rally on 12 May 2012 in Lismore by residents of the Ewingar district declaring the road reserves CSG free viz a viz Japara Road, Valley View Road, Bulldog Road, Grand View Road, Hunters Road, Peckham Road, Ewingar Road and Plains Station Road.

Voting recorded as follows:
For: Councillors Williamson, Comben, Dinham, Howe, Hughes, McKenna, Simmons, Tiley and Toms
Against: Nil

The Daily Examiner 2 July 2012:

ROSS Wilkinson, a fourth-generation farmer in the South Tabulam-Ewingar area of the Clarence Valley Shire and son of Isabel Wilkinson, renowned historian and author of "The Forgotten Country", has locked his gate against coal-seam gas mining.
At a community celebration on Saturday, June 16, a Gas Field-Free Road sign was erected on Plain Station Rd at the northern end of the Clarence Valley Shire where Ross lives.
"I've lived beside the Clarence River all my life; that's my life: the land and the river," he said.
"Without good water you've got nothing."
"You can't grow anything, you can't live. You'd have to walk off your place.
"There are hundreds of tonnes of cereal and leguminous crops grown in the area as well as thousands of head of cattle.
"We went through 12 years when it never rained and we had to irrigate all through it."
"Without being able to irrigate we've got nothing."
Mr Wilkinson is also worried about his grandkids' future, saying: "We don't own the land, we only look after it for the next generation and we've got to make sure it's in better order for them."
And he won't accept that this form of mining is safe until the mining companies prove it beyond reasonable doubt.…

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