The original Sydney morning Herald article can be viewed here.
The extraction method of coal-seam gas (fracking) has quantifiable rewards unlike its risks. Few experts dispute there are risks to water systems, and the debate over fracking will rage between communities, miners and experts for years to come.
For 20 years there has been fracking around Camden, NSW. Getting fracking correct will be difficult as every aquifer is different. From gas extraction today, it is impossible to tell what environmental effects will arise in 20 years. The conflicting statements coming from the CSG providers do not provide much comfort either. The preferred method to dispose of water used in fracking is to dilute it with fresh water from the Avon River. Then it is flushed down the flats of the Avon River. This is in the Manning River catchment which is the water supply for 75, 000 people.
Hydrologist Phillip Pells reckons mining around Camden is “appropriate for extraction of CSG, in relation to groundwater systems…but this does not mean that Camden is a direct analogy for a CSG field in a completely different geological, surface water and agricultural environment such as Gloucester”. AGL claims that the “produced water” from Gloucester’s wells will bring less salt to the surface over 10 square kilometers than natural rainfall. In order for that claim to be true, Pells says AGL will have to drill only one bore every 10 square kilometers, with each bore yielding less than 0.16 litres per second of produced water. It is planned to have dozens of wells in a 10 square kilometer area, many close to houses.
Having the CSG extracted around Camden could be a major health concern for many of the residents. It contaminates their main water water supply, causing health defects. The noise from the “fracking” could also disrupt the residents peace and quiet.
Cover image credit: http://1bog.org/blog/how-to-become-a-fracking-insurgent-beyond-going-solar/