CSG in your tap water
DRINKING CSG wastewater could become a reality for Northern Rivers residents in the future after the NSW Labor Opposition yesterday leaked the O'Farrell government's draft aquifer interference policy.
The controversial policy breaks a pre-election promise by the O'Farrell government to protect the environment and local water supplies from the impacts of coal seam gas extraction.
The policy proposes reinjecting treated CSG wastewater into rivers, aquifers and even the local water supply.
The policy says, "Alternative disposal options might include reinjection to an aquifer, discharge to a river, on-selling to a nearby industry, agricultural development or potable (drinkable) water supply" .
It also exempts certain economically significant, large-scale mining and CSG developments from going through the aquifer interference approval process and also allows controversial CSG evaporation ponds to be established.
Shadow water minister Luke Foley said the draft policy was completely at odds with pre-election commitments.
"This means the community could potentially be asked to drink treated coal seam gas wastewater that has been injected into the potable water supply and aquifers," Mr Foley said.
NSW Farmers Association members yesterday called on Mr O'Farrell to make good on his election promise to ensure agricultural land and water was protected from the impacts of mining and CSG development.
Planning and Infrastructure Minister Brad Hazzard said the government had engaged stakeholders for more than a year in the process of getting the first Strategic Land Use Policy in the country.
"There have been many productive twists and turns along the way as a result of issues raised by stakeholders," he said.
"But the issues raised by the stakeholders are confidential and it is not appropriate to provide running commentary on those issues."