Greens question Metgasco’s evidence to coal seam gas inquiry


25 June 2012

Greens NSW mining spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham has called on Metgasco to clarify whether or not the evidence they provided to the NSW Parliament Inquiry into Coal Seam Gas was accurate, following revelations they have illegally disposed of coal seam gas water at the Casino Sewage Treatment Plant.

The revelations of the illegal disposal of coal seam gas waste water are stated in a letter from the Environmental Protection Authority to the Environmental Defenders Office:

“The recent acknowledgement by the Environmental Protection Authority that Metgasco was illegally disposing of coal seam gas water at the Casino Sewage Treatment Plant appears to contradict some of the evidence given by Metgasco at the inquiry,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

“It is extremely serious to mislead a parliamentary inquiry. I will be writing to the committee asking it to look into this matter.

“What is clear is that Metgasco is continuing to treat the Casino, Lismore and Kyogle communities with contempt and dishonesty in relation to their plans.

“To any fair minded person the construction of their so call ‘temporary storage’ pond at Casino is a clear breach of the Government’s no evaporation ponds policy.

“They are hiding behind semantics and the Government continues to fail in its obligations to hold the coal seam gas industry to account.

Hansard record of  the evidence given by Mr Michael O’Brien Chief Operations Officer, Metgasco. 8 December 2011

Mr O’BRIEN: Our water handling currently is that our water is disposed of in above-ground holding ponds. We have two styles of pond, one that takes produced water and another one that takes drilling fluids.

When those ponds are decommissioned, we will sample the water and any sediment in those ponds, and then we will dispose of both of those according to the quality at that stage.

The Hon. JEREMY BUCKINGHAM: Are they evaporation ponds?

Mr O’BRIEN: They are holding ponds. In the Casino area you get significant rainfall; you also get some evaporation. Over a 12-month period you will get net evaporation out of those ponds. 

The Hon. JEREMY BUCKINGHAM: The only way you deal with produced water and drilling fluids is to hold them in those ponds?

Mr O’BRIEN: Currently, for our production pilots, that is the case, but when we go into production we will look for a beneficial use for the water. We have done a number of studies so far and there appear to be a good range of options for disposing of our water. Our production water, on the knowledge we have so far, is of relatively high quality. It is good enough for stock use as it is, without any upgrading, and then there are multiple parts to upgrade it so that it becomes a fully usable water source. 

Contact: Max Phillips – 9230 2202  or  0419 444 916

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