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Index > Australia > NSW > AGL > Gloucester > Irrigation Trial

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Coal Seam Gas

Gloucester is awaiting the decision on whether AGL can start fracking 300m from family homes. AGL want to start fracking as soon as possible.

AGL's Irrigation Trial on the Tiedmans property, Gloucester

AGL and the fracking process has a major problem - what to do with the produced water brought up from the gas wells. It has been mixed with chemicals during the fraccing process and water scientists have questioned if that water brought up from the depths is contaminated.

"125,000 tons of salt per year flows out of the Avon River naturally" John Ross, AGL recorded with permission on 20 November 2013
"More salt in rainwater than in produced water" Mike Moraza, AGL
Both these claims have been debunked by experts.

Why is AGL refusing to comply with repeated calls to undertake water studies in the area before they start fracking and before they conduct their irrigation 'trial'?

AGL's Water Management Plan and the Soil Quality Monitoring and Management Plan for the Tiedmans Irrigation Trial.

AGL's Plan fails to address the National Water Quality Guidelines ANZECC for irrigation

An environmental scientist familiar with the approval process required for projects has noted the following:

Waukivory Pilot fracking fluid = 850l Hydrochloric acid + 450l Bactericide THPS potential formaldehyde releaser AppD, p12

AGL's management plan does not mention the water values for:
radioactive contaminants, radium, arsenic, cyanide, lead, radium, chromium, mercury, and uranium. p.11

Either AGL haven't tested the water for these contaminants - or if they have, they're not mentioning the concentrations.

Beef producers and diary consumers in particular should be concerned at the lack of data.

AGL's wastewater irrigation trial report (Aug 2013) does not reference National Water Quality guidelines, and does not include a microbial count

Waukivory Pilot fracking fluid = 850l Hydrochloric acid + 450l Bactericide THPS potential formaldehyde releaser
AppD, p12

Irrigation Trial

As part of Stages1A/1B of their envisaged gas exploration program, AGL proposes to irrigate up to 70 megalitres of produced water over a maximum area of 40 hectares over a three year period.

The water is a mixture of chemical-laden frack water from gas exploration wells, and the salty ground water brought up from the coal seams during the fracking process.

AGL blends this water with freshwater and then stores this 'produced water' in the Tiedman and Stratford dams at Gloucester.

AGL claims this produced water is contained in fully lined storage ponds located on the Tiedman property.

"Once the project goes into production, the produced water will be blended with other water or desalinated so that its salt content decreases, then used to irrigate suitable agricultural lands and crops," AGL says.

Mark Harris has a capped gas well on his property. This is not part of Stage I but will be part of 110 gas wells planned for either Stage II or III.

Will Farmer Harris be able to pick the areas where the other wells will go?
Does Farmer Harris know that from one well head, four others can be piped off it?
Has AGL informed him that there will be connecting roads and overhead power lines, diesel motors working day and night?

Takes the shine off the $4000 p.a. he will get for having them on his property, but who cares, he won't have to milk a cow ever again and the land will be so salted that his children won't have to worry about milking cows either.

Local farmers are concerned that they must pay for a water license to grow fodder, and here is a huge corporation who get their water for free, and set up business in competition.

A press release issued by AGL on 19 November 2013 discusses their irrigation trial producing fodder crops for local farmers’ livestock feed.

AGL notes that triticale and lucerne were harvested as part of an irrigation trial on AGL’s property, known as the Tiedmans property, outside Gloucester has been sold to local farmers.

Approximately six hectare area of triticale (a salt tolerant wheat/rye crop used for livestock feed) was grown producing more than 130 silage bales, or 65 tonne, which was then sold to local farmers.

1) Triticale is a salt tolerant crop
2) they are using Triticale because there are salt issues
3) using salty water for a long period of time will destroy the soil structure
4) experienced farmers have noted 10 years or less about all they will grow is salt bush.

The irrigation trail used some of the water from the 2012 Waukivory Pilot Program in Gloucester when four methane gas wells were drilled near Forbesdale.

Andrew Lenehan, AGL’s overseer at the Tiedmans property near Gloucester, said the triticale was grown from a blend of fresh water and water produced from coal seam gas production on the property.

AGL is now monitoring how much water is produced from the coal seams, assess the methane gas potential of the wells and determine the impact on overlying groundwater systems.

A date is yet to be confirmed for commencement of hydraulic fracturing of four wells as the Review of Environmental Factors is currently being assessed by the Office of Coal Seam Gas.

It comprises fracture stimulation, workovers, completions, associated civil works, groundwater testing and data and flow testing. No work is expected to start before Christmas.

Mike Moraza, Group General Manager Upstream Gas, said he wants the hydraulic fracturing to occur at the same time as other independent water studies because it will add to the knowledge base about the area’s gas and groundwater.

However locals and water experts claim the need for baseline studies to establish the existing quality of water before AGL undertakes more fracking.

Gloucester Council, downstream Taree Council and MidCoast Water all want these baselines studies.

AGL still claim they are "listening to the community"

“Hydraulic fracturing is not new in this area. Twelve wells have already been fracture stimulated in Gloucester. Four were performed by AGL after acquiring the exploration licence,” Moraza said.

One of those gas wells accidently blew out 300m away from the fracking well.

Residential homes are located within 300m of these same wells.

19 November 2013 - Kim Honan, Rural reporter for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, ran a story on the Rural Report featuring an irrigation trial at Gloucester by AGL.

The report failed to mention that frack water has been sitting in a pond out in the rain for more than a year - since Gloucester was last fracked.

The report failed to mention what was being done with the salt and other contaminates.

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