War of words over CSG water

A STOUSH has erupted between Metgasco and Lock the Gate Northern Rivers over the credibility of water testing from CSG holding ponds.

After recently drinking water from a holding pond at Shannon Brook, Metgasco CEO Peter Henderson claimed that apart from a high salt content, there were no heavy metals and the water was safe for irrigation and possibly livestock.

But another sample of water taken by Lock the Gate and tested at the EAL laboratory in Lismore found 13 elements including heavy metals present above drinking water standards.

Spokesperson Boudicca Cerese said many of the substances found, including aluminium and lead, were well known for their toxicity and their release into local waterways via the sewage treatment plant or onto agricultural lands posed a serious threat to humans, domestic stock and wildlife.

But Graham Lancaster, the director of the environmental analysis laboratory at SCU, has questioned whether the level of sediment in the sample provided by Lock the Gate was comparing apples with apples, because there were different guidelines for sediment and that a sample of sediment from the Wilsons River would produce a similar result.

Mr Henderson said the result showed "the anti-CSG movement has again been caught out distributing incorrect information and making unsupported and defamatory remarks".

But Ms Cerese said the point of the samples was "to find out the totality of what is in the ponds as this is what has to be dealt with and somehow treated and disposed of".

She said it was a waste management issue and if there were high levels of heavy metals in Metgasco's waste, it was inappropriate for it to be disposed of through the sewage treatment plant.

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