With the recent drilling of test wells in our area, what is the possibility of CSG and fracking chemicals entering our town water supply?
The risk is probably very low for water pumped from Rocky Creek Dam, but what about water pumped from the Wilsons River Source near Lismore?
Chemicals from test wells to the east of Kyogle or to the north of Lismore could enter the Wilsons Source. Potentially, then, town water in Lismore, Alstonville, Ballina, Byron Bay and Brunswick Heads could all be affected by test wells in the Wilsons River and Emigrant Creek catchments.
Only a handful of wells have been drilled so far but if the expected 2,500 wells are drilled in the Northern Rivers, it may only be a matter of time before our town water supplies are contaminated.
Rous Water therefore needs to be asked a couple of questions. How much of our town water is being pumped from the Wilsons River Source? In particular, how much could be pumped in a low-rainfall year? Is Rous Water routinely testing our town water for CSG and fracking chemicals? Will these results be made public?
Chemicals liberated from the coal seam by drilling, and fracking chemicals added during the drilling process, contain known carcinogens. As a scientist who has worked over 20 years in cancer research, I am appalled that these chemicals that cause cancer are allowed anywhere outside a laboratory, let alone near our water supplies.
As cancer only becomes apparent 10 to 20 years after carcinogen exposure, we are still waiting to see the full effects of CSG chemicals on public health in the USA. With the huge number of planned wells in NSW, the effects on public health here, plus the long-term cost of medical treatment, could be enormous. For the public health risks alone, the NSW government should ban CSG mining.
Effie Ablett PhD, BSc (Hons)