13.5 C
Byron Shire
May 16, 2021

CSG wastewater: salty or highly toxic?

Latest News

Bluesfest announces October dates for 2021 festival

After two disappointing cancelations of their event, Bluesfest has announced that they will hold the 2021 festival over the...

Other News

Flickerfest tour returns to the Northern Rivers

Celebrating 30 years in 2021 Flickerfest is bringing its National Tour to The Regent Cinema Murwillumbah for one big film packed this weekend

‘Endless land releases’ not the solution for Byron’s housing crisis, says Labor mayor hopeful

Northern Rivers-based trade unionist and MBA student Asren Pugh has announced his candidature for Byron Shire Mayor in September’s local government elections on behalf of Country Labor. 

Save Broken Head

Jan Barham, Broken Head Broken Head is precious but fragile. Again, it’s under threat and it’s urgent to act now....

Eating vegan is no longer like Mac Vs PC

Remember back in the bad old days when you used either a PC or Mac? Those were your choices, and never the twain could meet. They were so many miles apart in operations that they were like different countries with different languages and appearances

Humans suck

Hannah Grace, Ocean Shores I heard on the local news late this afternoon (April 20) that a 370kg tuna ...

Interview with Bob Vegas

The glorious Bob Downe is back with a brand new show: Viva Bob Vegas! at the Brunswick Picture House. He gave Seven the Downe low…

Luis Feliu

A sample of wastewater from a Metgasco coal-seam gas (CSG) storage pond has been found to contain high levels of heavy metals toxic to humans and wildlife, according to Lock the Gate Northern Rivers.

Spokesperson Boudicca Cerese said the release of the toxic heavy metals into local waterways via the local sewage treatment plant or onto agricultural lands posed ‘a serious threat to humans, domestic stock and wildlife’.

But Metgasco has stuck to its guns, saying the water is salty and not toxic.

The sample, according to Lock the Gate, was analysed at a nationally accredited laboratory in Lismore and assessed under official environmental guidelines for drinking water standards.

Last week, CSG company Metgasco released its water sampling data showing the wastewater was simply salty, with chief executive Peter Henderson drinking some of its ‘produced water’ from a holding pond to show media that it met drinking water standards.

But Ms Cerese said the pond sample they obtained ‘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’.

‘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,’ she said.

‘Aluminium, a neurotoxin linked with the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s, 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.

‘Lead, a cumulative poison that can severely affect the central nervous system, was measured at seven 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.’

Ms Cerese said the results showed the community could not rely on the water quality results provided by Metgasco and there was 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’.

‘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.

But Mr Henderson said in a statement to media that his company stood by its results, ‘which summarise results of multiple sampling in different ponds’ and were analysed by certified testing authorities.

‘The analyses we perform are accepted as being appropriate for the produced water and drilling fluid and confirm the water is salty, not toxic,’ he said.

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


  1. I think Mr Henderson has said it all in his statement “the analyses we perform are accepted as being appropriate for the produced water and drilling fluid”. That’s the point, Mr Henderson – you commission the analyses and you determine the appropriateness. Not much transparency and independence there, is there?

    Unfortunately for you, Mr Henderson, the community is determined that it is they (not you) who will determine what is “appropriate” for release back into “our” environment.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Power outage in Byron Shire

Power supply company Essential Energy says that approximately 1,780 homes and businesses were without supply this morning.

Filming of Byron Baes begins with no indigenous consultation

Filming of the Netflix series Byron Baes has reportedly commenced without any effort made by the show's production company – Eureka Productions – to consult with local indigenous groups or the local Council.

Byron Comedy Festival launched with a laugh

At a hilarious sold-out launch of the Byron Comedy Festival, Dr Karl Kruszelnicki had the entire Byron Bay Surf Club giggling last night

School Strike for Climate next Friday

Next Friday from 10am Byron Shire students will be demanding political action on the climate emergency in what they and their supporters say is our present, future and reality.