Water testing has been undertaken around Metgasco’s proposed gas test well at Bentley, the first time that it has happened and despite the state government’s refusal to pay for it.
But the one-off tests are inadequate, according to Gasfield Free Northern Rivers, who say a much more comprehensive regime is required to establish proper baseline data.
Last year Richmond Valley Council commissioned Lismore-based Richmond Water Laboratories to carry out testing within a two-kilometre radius of the well prior to drilling.
The testing was paid for by Metgasco after the state government refused to fund the tests.
It looked at the water quality in two creeks, two bores and two dams adjacent to the property where the company plans to drill for tight sands gas.
The survey includes results for a range of chemicals and gases including strontium, uranium, lead and zinc, as well as BTEX chemicals, phenols, methane and butane.
The Richmond Valley Council GM said that the data would enable Council to gauge the effects of drilling.
The tests will be repeated two months after the drilling is complete and again 12 months later.
The data will be compared to establish what effects the drilling has had on the aquifers and surrounding water.
‘What we want to know is what’s normal in the area and does the drilling cause any negative effect in the water,’ Mr Walker told ABC radio this morning.
He said the council believed the government should make it a requirement, adding, ‘we would ask and always call for full baseline testing for all drill sites in the area’.
But Boudicca Cerese from Gasfield Free Northern Rivers said the testing was insufficient to make any reasonable comparison.
She said what was required was ‘proper baseline data, not just this one-off testing but actually, over a period of time, through all different seasons.’