GROUNDSWELL Gloucester has hit out at AGL’s announcement that it plans to build a desalination plant as part of its Gloucester Gas Project.
Groundswell chairwoman Julie Lyford said AGL was left with few other options to dispose of water produced from its coal seam gas (CSG) extraction operations, slamming an irrigation trial the company had set up on its Tiedmans property as a failure.
“The announcement by AGL that they will now use reverse osmosis to purify produced water from CSG wells is nothing new,” Mrs Lyford said.
“This method was promoted by Lucas-Molopo in their original proposal for the project six years ago. AGL has since tried to get way with the much cheaper option of spraying the polluted salty water, diluted with river water, on to pasture. This pasture was sold and fed to cattle in the district.
“The only logical reason to abandon irrigation now is that the State agencies have at last accepted the scientific advice from Groundswell Gloucester’s ‘Exposing the risks’ document, that irrigation was a highly polluting solution and not acceptable.”
Ms Lyford said regardless of the ‘exhibition’ or ‘consultation’ foreshadowed by AGL, the matter would be settled by government agencies with no avenue of merits appeal.
She said these were the same agencies that had failed to speak out against the AGL’s irrigation solution.
Groundswell said while desalination might seem the more appropriate solution, there were questions that still needed to be answered by AGL.
“There are still the problems with keeping dams full of dirty water and fracking fluids on the flood plain in a dairying and beef area,” Mrs Lyford said.
“There are still the unknown risks of leaks directly from fracked strata and wells into the environment.
“The most important problem with the desalination scheme is what will they do with the salt and pollutants that are removed from the water?
“AGL say it will go to an approved facility. This means the tonnes of toxic sludge will be buried somewhere? Who will take this waste?
“A toxic waste dump isn’t a solution. It is a time bomb being set for future generations to deal with.”