In the last few weeks, the impact of Coal Seam Gas (CSG) mining on Murray-Darling Basin rivers has become a whole lot clearer - and a whole lot more worrying.
We commissioned independent testing of "treated" water being discharged from a Santos CSG mining operation in NW NSW. Toxic chemicals in the Bohena Creek just downstream from this discharge were excessively high - ammonia levels were 3 times the safe level for drinking water.
Santos intially said they followed all NSW requirements for discharge of waste water and that they wanted verification of our test results. But then we discovered that their own testing revealed exactly the same results and that they had failed to get the required licences for discharging polluted water.
We broke the story, receiving media across the country, including Radio National AM (listen/read the story here)
Communities across Australia are calling for a moratorium on Coal Seam Gas, and this case highlights just how damaging this mining is for our rivers.
Furthermore, the draft Basin Plan recommends a dramatic increase in groundwater extraction for mining interests and also reduces the standards for water quality basin-wide from "mandatory" to "aspirational". This worrying combination puts at risk the drinking water of over 3 million Australians, not to mention the ecosystems and farmers who rely on clean water for survival.
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