One of the major concerns around coal seam
gas is its effect on water. I want to see if
there’s any basis to those fears or evidence to suggest otherwise. So I’ve arranged to
meet Andrew Moser, a hydrogeologist, at the Spring Gully Water Treatment Facility. Darren: So Andrew just um refresh my memory
about the Aquifer Injection process. Andrew: All of the water that comes out of
the coal which is slightly brackish, we treat all of that up to really good quality, almost
drinking water standard. Then we match it to the quality of the water that’s in the
aquifer and we actually put it back down in the Great Artesian Basin aquifers here. Darren: So is this process safe? Andrew: Yeah, yeah it’s definitely safe. So
we take all the oxygen out of it, and the other gases out of it. We then disinfect
it. At that stage it’s pretty much exactly the same water quality as what we’ve got in
the aquifer that we’re putting it back into. Darren: Can that process, or the water you’re
putting back in there, can that actually harm the aquifer? Andrew: It’s about making sure that it can’t
change the quality of the water that’s down there, or change the rocks that are down there.
We have to do a lot of compatibility work and we actually got CSIRO to help us out with
a lot of that work before we inject it back down again. Darren: Who potentially benefits from that,
that water being reinjected? Andrew: So you’re topping up a resource there
that landowners can use now or the state can use now or any time in the future. Darren: So there’s nothing to hide? Andrew: There’s nothing to hide. Darren: I want to visit one of the beneficiaries
of aquifer injection, landowners Peter and Nikki Thompson, They have five bores on their property,
one of which is an artesian bore, which supplies them with water from the aquifer, into which
Australia Pacific LNG is injecting water. Darren: Peter? Peter: How you goin’ Darren? Darren: Yeah good mate, nice to meet you. Peter: Yeah you too. Darren: Nikki nice to meet you too. Darren: Can you, sort of explain or show me
why, why it’s different to the others? Peter: Yeah probably come over and have a
look is easiest. So an artesian bore is one that will be um, what we’ve described as a
flowing bore. No pumps or anything here. The water just comes up under its own pressure.
If I turn this on…make sure I don’t wet you…to us it’s liquid gold. It’s magic when
all you have to do is just turn the tap on. Darren: You don’t have any concerns about
it being contaminated by the gas industry? Peter: No, this telemetry that we’ve got
here, that’s stuff they put in so at any time I can log in to a website and it tells
me exactly what’s happening with this bore. So pressure, flow, whatever. We’ve still got
good water here, still got crops growing, still got cattle grazing and I think people
see for themselves that there’s a lot of unfounded um, fear being spruiked around the countryside.
That, to me anyway, is a greater concern than the gas… that spruiking of unfounded fears. Darren: I suppose, as I said, it’s a great
example for the rest of the community about what can be achieved. All right, well I’ll follow youse out.