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April 22, 2021

EPA approves Metgasco wastewater dumping

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Coal-seam gas explorer Metgasco will be allowed to dump up to five million litres of its so-called ‘production water’ into the Casino sewerage system following approval by the EPA.

The move comes despite the same authority chastising it for the same activity a little over a month ago and fining the council involved.

Following months of unauthorised dumping, Richmond Valley Council finally put in an application to allow it to receive the wastewater from Metgasco’s Casino test site should the company’s holding ponds be in danger of overflowing.

Surprisingly, the application was approved by the NSW Office of Water, which said it undertook a review of the effect on the plant and established that ‘the sewerage treatment plant (STP) can effectively treat the produced water without compromising the environmental performance of the plant,’ a spokesperson said.

Richmond Valley Shire general manager John Walker said the action will lessen the risk of overflows, and told ABC radio it will ‘allow compliance to an audit’. He added that ‘we’re running a sewerage treatment plant and I can tell you a lot worse things go in there than this salty water’.

EPA’s chief environmental regulator Mark Gifford told media last night it was requiring the council ‘to ensure that monitoring is undertaken and to report to the EPA during the water delivery and treatment process’.

Yet only last month, a letter written by EPA’s north coast region manager Brett Nudd to the Environmental Defenders Office said the Office of Water described the disposal of water via an STP as ‘inappropriate’.

The turnaround appears to suggest the EPA’s local arm has been overruled by head office and that Metgasco has no other option but to remove some water from its swollen holding ponds to prevent a spill.

Metgasco has announced it will hold a press conference today to explain the move.

Today an activist faces Casino Court over actions during construction of a second holding pond at Metgasco’s test site. Davey Bob Ramsey locked himself to a bulldozer during expansion of Metgasco’s CSG wastewater ponds.

On 18 June the company was given a ‘direction to give effect to Condition 8 of PEL16 to establish adequate freeboard in temporary holding ponds,’ by the Division of Resources and Energy.


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  1. That salt water ends up in the river whether it goes through the treatment plant or not.

    This is insanity. What is the point of having an EPA?

    Miining companies run this country.

  2. Yep one law for us and another for the money spinning ponzi scheme merchants…life under the Liberals will only get worse.

    • The EPA require an independent audit carried out before they make more mistakes, as it stands they are looking after the wrong people.

  3. I don’t see why everyone’s getting so excited.
    The EPA’s never protected the environment.
    I thought that was public knowledge.
    It issues licences to pollute the environment.
    All you have to do is pay the fee, a cost of doing business, and ‘Bob’s your uncle’.
    You only have to look at the Evans Head Sewerage Treatment Plant fiasco where the EPA turned a blind eye for years for partially treated effluent to flow into Salty Lakes in Broadwater National Park. The effluent’s been cleaned up to a certain extent but Richmond Valley Council pays a few dollars and the EPA still allows them to dump nutrients and other nasties into the National Park.
    EPA is the Environment Pollution Authority par excellence!
    Dr Richard Gates
    Evans Head

  4. The whole episode is indicative of the lack of planning and foresight of a company that flies by the seat of its pants in an industry that relies upon government at all levels to cover up its shortcomings!

  5. An EPA that offers no environmental protection… Gas companies that promise all and offer nought … Government reps that offer up our land, water, lifestyle and wellbeing to environmental pariahs like a goose that lays golden eggs.

    More toxic a brew than befouled waste water.


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