Fracking contaminated water in Wyoming a warning for Australia

MEDIA RELEASE9 December 2011

The Greens NSW mining spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham said today that the US EPA finding that fracking for gas had contaminated a drinking water aquifer in Wyoming provided a stark warning to Australia not to let the dangerous unconventional gas industry loose on Australia, and called on the NSW Government to make public the number of wells that had been fracked.

The US EPA found that fracking to stimulate gas production by Encana at Pavillion, Wyoming was likely to have contaminated the drinking water aquifer with chemicals from gas production, including the carcinogen benzene at 246 micrograms per litre, and issued a warning for residents not to drink from the aquifer.

The report found:

Chemicals detected in the most recent samples are consistent with those identified in earlier EPA samples and include methane, other petroleum hydrocarbons and other chemical compounds. The presence of these compounds is consistent with migration from areas of gas production.

“The EPA’s  Wyoming findings shows that fracking is a danger to our groundwater and that gas and chemicals can migrate underground and pollute other aquifers,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

“The experience in the US should be a big red flashing warning light saying ‘stop the coal seam gas industry before it is too late’.

“The depth of the Wyoming gas wells blamed for the contamination is very similar to the depth that many Australian coal seam gas will operate, and much shallower than typical North American East Coast shale gas wells.  This is a direct warning for the Australian situation.

“The NSW Government should make public a list of all coal seam gas wells in NSW that have been fracked and their location, and initiate an investigation to see if there has been any contamination of adjoining aquifers.

“We heard evidence in the coal seam gas inquiry yesterday that AGL had fracked 117 wells at its Camden Gas Project but also heard that no groundwater monitoring has been conducted by the company of surrounding ground water,” he said.

Contact: Max Phillips – 9230 2202  or  0419 444 916


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