Santos notes media coverage this morning on the discharge of treated coal seam gas water from a reverse osmosis plant formerly operated by Eastern Star Gas into the Bohena Creek, near Narrabri, NSW.
Media reports this morning referred to a water sample reportedly taken from an Eastern Star Gas treatment facility on an undisclosed date by a coalition of environmental groups including Friends of the Earth.
Santos completed a takeover of Eastern Star on 17 November 2011. Eastern Star has been discharging treated water into the Bohena Creek under the authority of the NSW Department of Trade Investment Regional Infrastructure and Services. This authority requires Total Dissolved Solids in discharged water to be below 250 parts per million.
Santos points out that discharged water is tested on a monthly basis and all recent results have met NSW requirements.
Santos is confident it is not in breach of its authority or having any adverse impact on water resources in the area.
The group making the claims today has previously made claims that have been dismissed after investigation.
Santos cannot comment directly on the water analysis referred to in media reports, but any water sample used for authoritative analysis must be taken in accordance with Australian Standards.
We are unable to confirm this has taken place in this instance and thus it is unclear whether the water tested was in fact discharged from the reverse osmosis plant or already present in the Bohena Creek – a tributary of the Namoi River.
The media reports specifically refer to high ammonia (or nitrate) levels in the water sample.
The NSW Office of Water Namoi Water Quality Project report 2002 – 2007 shows that the total nitrate levels in the Namoi River are generally above the ANZECC Guidelines. The report notes the water quality in the Namoi River has been impacted largely as a result of the expansion of agriculture in the region, coinciding with detection of high levels of nutrient in the waterways.
Santos can make no further comment until the validity of the water sample is confirmed and verified by tests routinely taken by the company to ensure compliance with the NSW Government’s strict conditions on any discharge.