Metgasco releases water report

Managing director of Metgasco Peter Henderson drinking produced water from CSG exploration at the Metgasco site at Pollock Rd, Shannon Brook.
Managing director of Metgasco Peter Henderson drinking produced water from CSG exploration at the Metgasco site at Pollock Rd, Shannon Brook. Cathy Adams

METGASCO has released a comprehensive analysis of produced water from its exploration activities, breaking a long silence which has seen questions increasingly asked about the nature of its CSG wastewater.

Yet the company refused to provide details of which laboratories tested the water, except to say the company required the laboratories to hold a nationally recognised testing certification.

Metgasco stores its water in eight containment dams, six which are "produced water" extracted from the ground in the drilling process, and two which are saltier "drilling water".

The produced water is around 10% the saltiness of sea water while the drilling water is between 30-50% of sea water.

The disclosure follows an approval by the state's Environment Protection Authority for the company to release a one-off dump of its production water into the Casino Sewerage Plant.

The EPA granted this allowance to the company as a result of changes to the required freeboard in the ponds, or the required space between the edge of the dams and the water surface which prevents overflow.

Metgasco managing director Peter Henderson said the salinity levels allowed the produced water to be used for agricultural and industrial purposes if properly treated.

"The EPA has indicated this water can be used for irrigation," he said.

He expected a comprehensive plan for the produced water to be finalised within two months.

"In the future we will be moving to beneficial use, so rather than allowing the water to sit in a holding pond, we'll be treating the water so that we can use it for a range of different options."

He said the produced water could be used for a range of applications also including ground watering, abattoir wash down and livestock watering.

"In a period of drought there will be farmers who want to have our water."

Lock the Gate Northern Rivers spokesman Ian Gaillard issued a cautious welcome to the disclosure.

"I think it's a good start, but the company needs to be totally transparent, as there's still a lot of unknown questions that we're not getting any insight into at all."

Read the full report here:

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Topics:  coal seam gas environment protection authority lismore metgasco wastewater

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