Metgasco slams Lock the Gate
METGASCO CEO Peter Henderson has slammed Lock the Gate Northern Rivers for trying to pass off what it says is illegally collected "muddy water" from Metgasco's ponds as a genuine sample.
On Wednesday of last week Lock the Gate issued results from a water sample with claims the water contained levels of heavy metals "toxic to humans and wildlife".
However it was later pointed out that the sample was unusually high in sediment (more than 120 times muddier than a typical sample) and that this created a distorted picture of heavy metal levels in the pond.
The concerns were raised by the director of SCU's Environmental Analysis Laboratory, Graham Lancaster, whose lab tested the water. The concerns were revealed in Saturday's Northern Star.
"The mixing of pond sediment in water significantly alters the results," said Mr Lancaster. "Sludge and soils in this region do have naturally high metals and guidelines for solids are typically 100-1000 times more lenient in regard to metal content."
Mr Henderson said: "Metgasco stands behind the water analyses it has provided. The Lock the Gate statements about metals are simply incorrect, as indicated by the SCU laboratory."
"There is a regulatory review and community consultation process that the industry must pass before it can proceed."
"Metgasco asks the community to allow this process to take place so that decisions are based on sound science and facts, not rumours and exaggerations."
Lock the Gate Northern Rivers spokesperson Boudicca Cerese said: "The sample was taken from the water column, it was not sludge."
"This is why we are calling on the EPA to undertake rigorous independent sampling so that we can properly assess the risks ... when millions of litres of waste water and sediment are extracted from the coal seam during gas production."
* More than 350 people were at a meeting for Ballina Shire residents on Tuesday about potential impacts of CSG in Ballina. Residents were briefed by experts and local landholders with experience with mining companies.