Ground water contaminated with uranium 20x limit & other poisonous elements – game over for coal seam gas

MEDIA RELEASE – 8 March 2014

Ground water contaminated with uranium 20x limit & other poisonous elements – game over for coal seam gas

The Greens NSW spokesperson on mining Jeremy Buckingham today called on the NSW government to halt all coal seam gas projects after the NSW Environmental Protection Authority found that gas company Santos had seriously contaminated ground water with toxic elements such uranium, arsenic, lead, and boron at its coal seam gas Bibblewindi water treatment plant near Narrabri.  Uranium has been detected in the aquifer at 335 micrograms per litre, which is 20 times safe drinking water levels. Pilliga CSG well

“This is game over for coal seam gas.  Here is definitive proof that unconventional gas, such as coal seam gas pollutes aquifers with extremely toxic elements,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

“It is totally unacceptable for ground water to be contaminated with radioactive uranium 20 times the safe drinking water limit.   Poisonous elements such as arsenic, lead and boron have also been mobilised and concentrated by coal seam gas extraction and then leaked into the aquifers.

“The gas industry often states there are no ‘proven’ cases of gas extraction leading to aquifer contamination.  Well here is the proof.

“The Greens call for the Santos Narrabri project and other coal seam gas projects in NSW to be halted immediately.  Other aquifers cannot be put at risk of serious pollution.  This type of contamination represents a serious health risk to humans and animals.

“It is scandalous that the government knew of this serious contamination incident when they announced the MOU to fast-track Santos’ Narrabri project, and when the Premier downplayed concern about the chemical risk associated with CSG on radio by likening it to chewing gum. 

“The dead vegetation in this area has given a clear visual indicator of this instance of contamination. There may be many, many more instances of pollution below ground that are not visible but are very real and will have long term effects on the aquifers and environment.  This incident is the tip of the ice berg.

“The fears of farmers and the community that coal seam gas was putting water resources at risk have been vindicated.  The claims by the gas industry that coal seam gas is safe are now disproved.

“The NSW Environmental Protection Authority has become a fig leaf for industrial pollution in NSW.  The tiny fine issued is staggering and there should be an inquiry into their failure to protect the environment in this case and others.”

Contact: Max Phillips – 0419 444 916

Download PDF of media release

One comment

  • don’t think the government will do anything about it . They are in bed with the mining companies , the $1500 fine is a joke , Get Barry O’Farrell out there to drink the stuff , he went out of his way to say that its only water and the stuff in vinegar , same as you put on your chips . Sorry the whole pack of them are liars backing the mining industry all the way


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