The 4350water Blog highlights some of the issues relating to proposals for potable reuse in Toowoomba and South East Qld. 4350water blog looks at related political issues as well.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Coal seam gas water in limelight ...

Excerpt from Qld Country Life:

Coal seam water in limelight

13 February 2009

Worries about coal seam gas water contaminating local water courses could be allayed, courtesy of a pilot reverse osmosis plant that came on-stream for the first time late last week.

Following a tour of Arrow Energy’s facilities in and around its Daandine Field operations west of Dalby, principally to show the extent of its burgeoning operations, rural interest centered on the prospects for pilot desalination plants and their ability to treat the water associated with the coal seam gas/water extraction process.

Energy companies have been rushing to develop this energy-rich sector of south east Queensland but have rural producers and conservationists on edge over the quality of water being drawn from the underlying coal seams.

While a couple of feedlots already utilise water from Arrow Energy’s gas extraction process, often it is supplemented by bore water before being pumped to thirsty stock.

Arrow Energy environmental manager, Ralph Gunness, was buoyed when examining the first treated coal seam gas water to emerge from the company’s trial reverse osmosis plant on the day I visited.

Within months it is expected to be applied to crops on its Glenelg property via a centre-pivot irrigation system that will cover 80ha (204 acres) on each sweep.

“It will demonstrate to local farmers just what we can do with our water,” Mr Gunness said.

He says agronomists will conduct tests on the crops to be grown beneath the centre-pivot irrigator with the local community to be involved in “each step of the way” with the new plant on track to supply about 1.5ML of treated water each day.

“We’re looking to process all of our water for the benefit of the community,” he added.

Already, Arrow Energy is supplying around 13ML a day of coal seam gas water to neighbouring feedlots, local coal washing facilities, plus directing it to power stations for cooling purposes.

Mr Gunness believes the company’s pilot reverse osmosis plant will be the forerunner of further plants that not only will supply treated water for local producers but also earmark its use within local carbon sequestration projects involving both forestry and crops.

Arrow Energy envisages developing its reverse osmosis strategies by either positioning smaller-scale plants nearer clusters of wells, or near more substantial plants to provide water to designated irrigation projects.

“For the moment we’ll be working on the dynamics of how they (reverse osmosis plants) will work and how we can manage the water over time,” Mr Gunness said.

Vice president of AgForce, Ian Burnett, is cautiously optimistic about Arrow Energy’s pilot reverse osmosis plant.

His comments come in the aftermath of the lobby group’s worries about the impact of mining operations on water quality.

“While I haven’t seen the scheme, as far as agriculture is concerned, we are encouraged by any development to treat that coal seam gas water,” he said.

“We will be interested to see how the pilot plant develops,” Mr Burnett added.

Queensland Farmers Federation president, Gary Sansom, says he doesn’t doubt the quality of the treated water, querying, however, the costs involved.

“I’m sure reverse osmosis works but, unfortunately, it’s not cheap – so that might be a limiting factor to primary producers,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Queensland Government says it is finalising a discussion paper on ways to manage coal seam gas water.

Those wanting to comment on the issue should contact the Coal Taskforce at:

See - Coal seam water in limelight.


Anonymous watchful said...

Well, it would be better than recycled sewerage water. Bring it on! but be mindful of the land suitable for growing food.

5:24 PM, February 20, 2009

Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you can clean the poo water, you can certainly clean the gas water, no matter what Flanagan says!

6:39 PM, February 20, 2009

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7:46 PM, February 20, 2009


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