‘High strength effluent’ claims out of date

GAS company AGL has rejected claims ‘high strength effluent’ from its Gloucester Gas Project is being used to irrigate crops on its Tiedmans property south of Gloucester.

In a statement last week Manning Clean Water Action Group president Chris Sheed said an EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) report in 2012 had revealed ‘high strength effluent’ from coal seam gas (CSG) operations by AGL were being used to irrigate the floodplain.

“How is it that a damning analysis by the EPA in 2012 to AGL’s application to be allowed to spray CSG produced water onto pasture can be ignored?”  Mr Sheed said.

But AGL said the EPA report was out of date and no longer valid.

“As part of the trial, AGL is currently irrigating crops with diluted groundwater, which is one part produced water to three parts fresh water and has a salinity reading that is typically 1500EC (electricity conductivity),” a spokeswoman said. 

“'High strength effluent’ is a term that the EPA used in their 2012 submission and this figure is below that high strength threshold. 

"The produced water is simply old, salty groundwater that has been extracted from deep coal seams as part of production testing operations within the Gloucester Gas Project. No other products are added to this water.

“Common soil improvers comprising gypsum, lime and zeolite that are regularly used in agriculture have also been used to improve soil quality.”

Gas office wants more information

A MEMBER of the Community Consultative Committee (CCC) for AGL’s Gloucester Gas Project has welcomed a move from the Office of Coal Seam Gas seeking more information on the company’s plans to frack four wells as part of its Waukivory pilot project.

In order to gain approval for the project, AGL was required to prepare a Review of Environmental Factors (REF) providing a detailed description of the operations involved and the environmental effects. 

An REF, of about 1000 pages, was submitted to the State government in October. CCC representative Gerald McCalden said he believed AGL’s original REF had significant omissions, particularly in relation to human health issues.

He said AGL had since submitted an addendum to the REF which was available on the AGL website. AGL said the addendum provided more information on the construction, operation and rehabilitation phase of the exploration project, including managing source water, flow back water and produced water.

It also looks at the site’s water storage dams designed to have a 500mm freeboard above the one in 100 year flood level; transportation of flow back water for lawful disposal at an appropriate facility; a water and gas gathering line to be placed under the Avon River which will reduce truck movements, noise and traffic; and expanding the groundwater monitoring network from the current  45 to 50 sites in early 2014.

In addition to the addendum, AGL has lodged a separate application to  requesting a two year extension of the Tiedmans irrigation trial. 

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