Monday, 27 February 2012

Will the Hawkesbury be a CSG dumping ground

Hawkesbury Environmental Network held a CSG information session in Windsor on 16 February. Jem Hallinan from the Environmental Defenders Office gave a presentation on the legal rights of landholders and Tim Spooner talked about how the Putty community found out about exploration in their area.

Tim also told the gathering that drilling fluids and waste water from the Putty core hole and from the wells at Camden are treated at a plant at Windsor. The treated water is sold to brick and tile makers but a company spokesperson said that during heavy rains some of this water flows into South Creek.

The Australian Government National Water Commission’s Position Statement on coal seam gas and water in December 2010 says that potential risks include:

  • The production of large volumes of treated waste water, if released to surface water systems, could alter natural flow patterns and have significant impacts on water quality, and river and wetland health.  There is an associated risk that, if the water is overly treated, ‘clean water’ pollution of naturally turbid systems may occur.
The residue of salt and chemicals left over from the treated water goes into restricted landfill and the sludge is sold as compost.

Another company at Windsor turns drilling sludge from building and cable works into compost which is being spread over land surrounded by National Park just off the
Putty Road
. It has a huge man made, clay lined water storage dam on the property. This property drains into the Colo River.

Both these companies have EPA licences. Will Windsor become the dumping ground for the water, sludge, salt and chemical residues from the coal seam gas industry in Camden, Wollongong, Sydney and Putty? I have been told that the only other treatment plant in NSW is in Newcastle. Where will all the water go? There are only so many tiles and bricks that can be made.

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