Doors to deal with flowback closing in NSW
A major coal seam gas company is shopping around for someone to deal with its chemical-laden ‘flowback water’, but the response from nearby treatment plants has not been favourable.
Gas giant AGL is currently awaiting approvals on four fracking wells around the Gloucester area, north of Newcastle.
As part of the fracking process, once approved, the company will be collecting large amounts of ‘flowback water’. The flowback is a mixture of water and various chemicals injected to split open underground coal seams, which seeps back up to the surface after fracking.
The flowback is extremely toxic and requires careful handling and treatment. AGL’s Mike Moraza says there are several sites nearby being considered.
“There are locations at Sydney, there are locations in Newcastle, there are locations up in the Taree district,” he said.
But it seems some nearby water corporations may not be too keen.
Hunter Water says the amount of flowback produced is too much for their plant to be able to treat and dispose of. Similarly, Midcoast Water says that if it wanted to treat the water, a special variation to its licence would be needed which they have no plans to obtain.
The New South Wales Greens spokesperson for mining Jeremy Buckingham said it has to end up somewhere, and NSW residents should look out.
“Is it going to end up in a sewer, in a creek, in our rivers?” he asked.
“There is no credible plan for how they're going to deal with this toxic water.
“Sydney residents, Newcastle residents, Taree residents are going to be a dumping ground for this toxic flowback water from coal seam gas.”