Eastern Star Gas fined for pollution in the Pilliga
Media release: 6 July 2012
The NSW Environment Protection Authority has issued Eastern Star Gas with two penalties and fines of $3,000 for discharging polluted water to Bohena Creek in the Pilliga, in North West NSW.
Acting Chief Environmental Regulator for the EPA, Mark Gifford said after receiving a report from the public in December 2011 of potential polluted water discharges into Bohena Creek from the Eastern Star Gas Bibblewindi Water Treatment Facility, the NSW Government commenced an extensive investigation.
“The EPA has conducted a thorough investigation of the discharge of polluted water from the coal seam gas site’s water treatment Reverse Osmosis Plant into Boehna Creek,” Mr Gifford said.
“The Reverse Osmosis Plant treats production water; production water is groundwater found in the coal seam that is brought to the surface as part of the coal seam gas operations.
“The EPA’s investigation included review of coal seam gas exploration activities and monitoring records from January 2010 to December 2011, as well as interviews with staff and water sampling.
“The EPA issued two penalty notices with fines of $1,500 each to Eastern Star Gas for discharging polluted water containing high levels of salt into Bohena Creek in March and November 2010; offences under section 120 of the Protection of Environment Operations Act 1997.”
At the time of incidents the site was owned by Eastern Star Gas. It is now owned and operated by Santos Limited.
“The EPA also issued a Formal Warning to Santos Limited for a discharge event in December 2011 that contained elevated levels of ammonia. The EPA does not believe that any environmental harm resulted from this event.”
The EPA will continue to assist the Department of Trade and Investment, Regional Infrastructure and Services (DTIRIS) which regulates the exploration licensing of coal seam gas activities and is leading the NSW Government’s investigation into the spills of coal seam gas water in the Pilliga.
The EPA will continue to support the government’s regulation of the industry. As of March this year all penalty notices issued are recorded on the EPA’s public register.
The exploration and approval process for coal seam gas is administered by the Department of Trade and Investment, Regional Infrastructure and Services under the Petroleum (Onshore) Act 1991.
Contact: Katie Ritchie
Page last updated: 06 July 2012