22.1 C
Byron Shire
December 7, 2021

CSG wastewater fears dismissed by Metgasco

Latest News

Comment: the peace and joy of Christmas

Christmas has always been a special time, and it holds some wonderful memories of early years, when youthful exuberance shaped my world, and it’s a time remembered for the happiness of family gatherings and the sound of kids waking early to see what Santa had delivered. 

Other News

Candidates against the train

Bruce Clarke, Mark Swivel and Asren Pugh have officially stated they do not believe it’s worth trying to get...

Call for feedback on new Lismore skate park plan

Lismore City Council is calling on local skaters to provide insight into the design of a potentially new skatepark in the Lismore CBD.

Firefighters receive lifetime membership

During the 2019–20 Black Summer fires, we were reminded what a vital and important role the volunteers of the Rural Fire Service (RFS) play both in fighting fires, and bringing the community together. 

Public school teachers across the region are on strike today

Hundreds of public school teachers and principals across the Northern Rivers will strike today )(Tuesday December 7) over what they say is the Government’s failure to address unsustainable workloads and uncompetitive salaries which are contributing to growing shortages of teachers. 

Lismore’s new mayor ‘looking forward to working on a united, productive council’

The December 4 LGA election was held on a hot and humid summer’s day in Lismore, a true representation of why it’s sometimes called ‘the wok’,

Personal responsibility?

Every month I, and many like me, make a worrying trip to pathology to have my blood tested. I...

One of Metgasco's many wastewater ponds in the northern rivers region. (Photo courtesy csgfreenorthernrivers.org)
One of Metgasco’s many wastewater ponds in the northern rivers region. (Photo courtesy csgfreenorthernrivers.org)

Mining company Metgasco has dismissed claims that ponds containing coal seam gas wastewater in the region could overtop with the extreme rainfall expected in the next few days.

Lismore Greens candidate for Lismore Adam Guise this morning called on Metgasco and the NSW Government to verify the integrity of holding ponds.

Greens candidate for Lismore Adam Guise. (Photo Tree Faerie)
Greens candidate for Lismore Adam Guise. (Photo Tree Faerie)

‘Metgasco has coal seam gas wastewater storage ponds dotted over our region, particularly around Casino,’ Mr Guise said.

‘These ponds are open topped and risk overflowing with the extreme rainfall of 300mm or more predicted over the next few days.

‘Back in 2012, Metgasco allowed its Shannon Brook wastewater ponds to reach excessively high levels, which may have overflowed during heavy rainfall and wind.

Metgasco chief executive Peter Henderson said Mr Guise’s statements demonstrated a ‘complete lack of knowledge about Metgasco and the gas industry, and a disregard for the truth’.

‘Metgasco no longer has any holding water ponds,’ Mr Henderson said in a statement.

‘Three ponds were completely decommissioned and the sites rehabilitated in 2013, with landholder and government sign-off of the decommissioning and rehabilitation programs.

‘Three other ponds have been handed back to the landholders.  A thorough environmental and veterinarian study demonstrated that the CSG water in the ponds was not toxic, just a little more salty (1/10 of the salt in sea water) and that it was suitable for stock watering use.

Mr Henderson said the government had approved the landholder’s right to use the water for this purpose.

Mr Guise claimed that the Shannon Brook wastewater ponds sit on farmland that drains in the Bungawalbyn wetlands.

‘In light of BTEX chemicals being found in the wastewater of AGL’s fracking operations in Gloucester, allowing exposed open-topped holding ponds pose a real threat to our water and farmland,’ he said.

‘Metgasco has no safe way of disposing of the coal seam gas wastewater.

‘The fact that AGL has just recently been refused disposal of its fracking wastewater in Gloucester, shows that this industry has no viable wastewater disposal methods.

‘This ongoing saga of Metgasco shows that coal seam gas operations are incompatible with the northern rivers climate, where extreme rainfall events often occur.

‘It is absolutely ludicrous that the Liberal-National party government has allowed open-topped wastewater ponds in our region.

‘To ensure the protection of our farmland and water, this industry needs to be shut down and licences across the northern rivers cancelled.’

Mr Henderson disagreed.

‘Metgasco has released data to the community confirming the quality of the water, as above, and showing that there is no BTEX in the water.

‘The ponds were subject to approval for installation and external audits during their use.  It is difficult to see how the ponds could ever have been a safety or environmental threat of any kind.

‘Metgasco has always complied with its licence requirements for pond design and operation.  Contrary to Mr Guise’s statement, Metgasco was not fined for providing adequate freeboard.

‘Mr Guise should get his facts right, stop this scare mongering and start telling the truth.

‘Mr Guise also chooses to confuse the public about CSG operations, fracking and AGL’s experience.

Meanwhile, the mining company announced recently  that it was keen to restart exploration activities at the Rosella site near Bentley.

In a statement to shareholders issued on 30 January, the company said it was hoping that its Supreme Court challenge to the suspension of its licence would be lifted.

‘There is chance that this matter will be resolved in the March 2015 quarter,’ the statement said.

‘When the suspension is lifted, the company will be seeking an assurance from the NSW Government that lawful activity in the northern rivers will be supported and protected.

‘It will also need to consider the impact of changes being made under the government’s new gas policy.

‘Metgasco reserves its right to make a claim for damages against the NSW Government as a result of the drilling suspension,’ the statement said.

The company said however that it preferred to work with the NSW Government ‘in a constructive manner to reach a solution to this matter’.

Echonetdaily has reported that the ALP, Greens, and the Christian Democrat parties have all said they would ban coal seam gas mining from the northern rivers region if elected at the March election.

The National Party has not given such an assurance.


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.

6 COMMENTS

  1. The National Party recently renewed PEL 445 which is an indication that they not only support CSG mining in the Northern Rivers but are actively promoting it.

    In a cynical move, National Party MP’s Don Page and Thomas George have claimed credit for working with Dart Energy (former owner of the license) to excise parts of the Ballina Electorate where there wasn’t gas deposits that could be commercially exploited.

    The Nationals have had repeated opportunities to protect our region from invasive Gasfield development but have continually voted and ‘negotiated’ the exact opposite.

    I am absolutely opposed to CSG mining due to its adverse impacts on water, air, land, rural communities and property prices. Many countries have banned it and Australia needs to follow suit.

    A vote for the Nationals is a vote for Gasfield development in the Northern Rivers and beyond. They deserve to be put last on election day to ensure the threat of CSG is removed from our area.

    Jeff Johnson
    Independent Candidate for the Ballina Electorate

  2. Roll on March when we will be able to exercise our democratic duty! Out with LNP……out with Nats (b)lock the gate on metgasco.

    Give some overtime to the 900 police that will be needed as “security guards” for the rat-bags that act legally by taking up their right to destroy our lands using bad laws as cover for their nefarious trade!!!

    Vale & Thanks to that nice Mr. George for being such a supportive member……….

  3. To my mind, Metgasco should be fully liable. Doesn’t fix the environment after a spill – it would
    never be quite the same.

  4. Thank you Adam for raising this issue. I understand some ponds are being watched by concerned residents at present, it would be good if we can get them all filmed as they overflow and perhaps some of the water taken for samples at the same time, to prove what contaminates were leaching into agri-land. Nothing like recorded proof to get the story across.
    I have sat next to wastewater ponds in the dry and cant imagine what it must be like to see them about to overspill scary. Its like everything until you see it with your own eyes it doesn’t hit home.

  5. The community has spoken and been ignored. I have just become a Green at age 64 and support Adam Guise. Can’t wait to have a politician who listens instead of insulting the voters.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

True non-partisan leadership of Ballina Shire Council over

A reign of non-partisan leadership in the Ballina Shire may well be over, with conservative independent Sharon Cadwallader leading the mayoral vote tally by lunchtime Tuesday.

Call for feedback on new Lismore skate park plan

Lismore City Council is calling on local skaters to provide insight into the design of a potentially new skatepark in the Lismore CBD.

Dad’s army called to arms as hospitality staffing crisis worsens

So dire has the shortage of hospitality staff in Northern NSW become, that the local chapter of the NSW business chamber is calling on retired workers to dust off their aprons and help out.

Public school teachers across the region are on strike today

Hundreds of public school teachers and principals across the Northern Rivers will strike today )(Tuesday December 7) over what they say is the Government’s failure to address unsustainable workloads and uncompetitive salaries which are contributing to growing shortages of teachers.