Chief Scientist & Engineer hosts robust discussion on CSG water

16 Apr 2014

Chief Scientist & Engineer Professor Mary O'Kane has hosted a technical workshop on coal seam gas water as part of her independent review of the extractive industry in New South Wales.

Technical experts from government, industry, academia and stakeholder groups came together today (Wednesday 16 April 2014) to discuss produced water, how to identify and manage any associated risks, and ways it can be reused or disposed of.

Professor O'Kane says it was the fourth in a series of workshops convened to inform her ongoing Review – the previous workshops addressing issues including well integrity, impacts on groundwater systems, fracking fluids and water monitoring.

"Water is one of the biggest areas of concern to those worried about CSG activities – that could not be clearer from the vast number of submissions to the Review, and our meetings with community groups in Camden, Campbelltown, Gloucester, Narrabri, the Liverpool Plains and Taree," Professor O'Kane said.

"The hazards posed by produced water, how it might be reused and methods of disposal were particular concerns raised with the Review.

"To address those concerns, the Review invited technical experts from government, the industry and community, as well as leading figures from relevant science and engineering fields to discuss potential risks posed by produced water, how those risks can be properly assessed, and what systems are in place or can be put in place to effectively manage those risks.

"This series of workshops allows the Review team to pull apart a particular issue – for instance, produced water – seek advice and hear a variety of opinions from a wide range of experts, who are all involved in one way or another with the industry.

"We can then identify where there might be common ground on an issue, where there is a difference of opinion and where more research or more work on legislation, regulation and compliance might need to be done," she said.

Professor O'Kane said anyone with concerns about CSG development should continue to raise them with the Review.

"It's not too late to have your say," Professor O'Kane said. "If there is something that is worrying you or that you have an opinion on, you have a right to be heard, and I would encourage you to make a submission to the Review via my Office."

The Review is expected to continue until late 2014, with the Chief Scientist & Engineer to release a series of issue-based reports over the weeks and months ahead.