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.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Dalby Regional Council rejects Arrow Energy pipeline proposal ...

WIN News:

Dalby Water

1 April 2009

Dalby Regional Council has rejected a multimillion dollar water project with Arrow Energy.

Council had been considering an eight million dollar water pipeline deal from Arrow Energy to Dalby's treatment plant, but it went over budget.

Council is now looking at sourcing water from underground bores.

It says it's concerned about the long term future of the region's water supplies.

Council is also negotiating with coal seam gas companies over use of its excess water.

See - WIN News - Dalby Water.

9 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hate to say "I told you so", but well, I did...

6:28 AM, April 02, 2009

 
Blogger Concerned Ratepayer said...

The only way for Anna Bligh to achieve her jobs in the coal seam gas industry in the South West and upstream in Gladstone is to deal with the coal seam gas water and its reuse in farming communities and towns. Without dealing with this issue, the industry cannot expand and she won't get the job numbers which will help cushion Qld's recession.

9:49 AM, April 02, 2009

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It makes no sense to just let the water evaporate. Only those obsessed with making us drink recycled water would want that. Reminds me of Kevie telling people you had to drink recycled water because the gas water would kill you. Lies, lies, lies.

9:57 AM, April 02, 2009

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re-injection is the only way to go with this stuff

5:35 PM, April 03, 2009

 
Blogger Concerned Ratepayer said...

It's an option.

10:28 PM, April 03, 2009

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, re-injection of the water back to the coal seam from which it came is proberly the only option left to the gas companies.

Getting rid of this by-product from gas production is the gas companies problem, not the queensland government. The government would undoubtably like to see the water used for urban supply or argriculture, but if the gas companies are not able to provide water of a suitable quality (and reliability) at a suitable price end users are able /willing to pay, then all they are left with is a waste product they have to dispose of.

Of course the government could subsidise a scheme of water supply to communities and spend a lot of money almost for the sake of it. All the gas companies could spend a lot of their money to subsidise the provision of water to users at a resonable price.

But it is unlikely that either case will happen.

The provision of CSG water to communities for urban use was never going to work because of the costs involved, both in capital and then on-going operational costs. Then there is the long term reliability issues of the supply. The whole supply hinges on future gas demands. And for a lot of the communities out west who are the targetted customers for this water, other cheaper options for supply exist for them to pursue, Dalby being a good example. Toowoomna another.

In the end, if nobody is willing to stump up the large sums of money involved in getting this water to market at a reasonable price, then it is not going to happen.

The water will be viewed as a by-product which will have to be dealt with by the gas companies mainly on environmental issues, and as building more evaporation ponds is undesirable, then re-injecting the water back into the ground may well be a condition of the mining lease, and a cost of minimng actibity for the company.

It was always going to be this way...

9:25 AM, April 04, 2009

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The coat to re-inject would be as much to provide the water to places like Dalby or Toowoomba, so why not make that happen?

10:28 AM, April 04, 2009

 
Anonymous newswatch said...

UPDATE – QUEENSLAND GOVERNMENT POLICY ON COAL SEAM GAS WATER RELEASED

Newsletter Article - 16 December 2008

In October 2008, the Queensland Government released its “Queensland Coal Seam Gas Water Management Policy” the Queensland Government has been developing a policy in relation to Coal Seam Gas Water and in considering the issues involved, found that the current regulatory regime provided for beneficial use of Coal Seam Gas Water and has committed to work with Coal Seam Gas producers to facilitate a greater understanding of regulatory requirements.

The government has found that given the potentially harmful nature of untreated Coal Seam Gas Water, it would be inappropriate to relax current regulatory requirements as this would be likely to increase risk to agricultural and ecological values through an inability to regulate impact.

The Queensland Government’s policy response tightens current requirements to achieve environmentally sustainable outcomes and encourages greater beneficial use of Coal Seam Gas Water.

The key features of the policy include:

- Discontinuing the use of evaporation ponds as a primary means of disposal of Coal Seam Gas Water. Transition arrangements will be developed by the Government in consultation with industry to address issues with existing evaporation ponds. Remidiation of existing evaporation ponds is too occur within three years.

- Making Coal Seam Gas producers responsible for treating and disposing of Coal Seam Gas Water. Unless the producers use direct injection of Coal Seam Gas Water or have arrangements for environmentally acceptable direct use of untreated Coal Seam Gas Water, Coal Seam Gas Water must be treated to a standard defined by the environmental protection agency (EPA) before disposal or supply to other water users.

The policy also includes a number of additional changes to the current requirements including:

- Ponds necessary for water aggregation and the storage of brine from treatment facilities are to be fully lined to a standard determined by the EPA.

- An associated Coal Seam Gas Water management plan is to be incorporated into the environmental management plan required for a level 1 environmental authority application; and

- Water which is in excess to that which can be directly injected or beneficially used is to be aggregated for disposal.

The government is yet to finalise its policy related to the disposal and aggregation of Coal Seam Gas Water. It is in the process of consulting with industry and community groups to shape the final policy framework, particularly around appropriate remediation action for existing evaporation ponds, and the circumstances under which industry should be required to co-operate to develop and fund a Coal Seam Gas Water aggregation and disposal system to deal with water which can not be directly injected into existing aquifer or has no immediate beneficial uses.

The development of the governments’ policy on Coal Seam Gas Water is a positive step forward however, further work will be need to develop the policy and to ensure appropriate protections are maintained for the resources industry. In particular, caution will be needed in making retrospective policy, particularly in relation to evaporation ponds.
Additionally, further analysis around the structure of water supply and ownership rights will need to be undertaken particularly around ability to inject water into aquifer for the purposes of sale to an end user. (Presently it is understood that a water supply agreement must be established with an identified customer prior to application and that water must be taken from the same aquifer that it is injected into).

Finally there is a need for improved regulatory processes to facilitate the transport of water across tenure boundaries, including different land owners, industries and stakeholders.

Currently, the approvals process for Gas Pipelines is that under the Petroleum and Gas Production and Safety Act, however, approvals for water pipelines across tenure boundaries fall under the Integrated Planning Act. This issue will be fundamental to the facilitation of aggregation of Coal Seam Gas Water.

See - Update on coal seam gas water.

11:50 AM, April 04, 2009

 
Anonymous newswatch said...

Queensland Coal Seam Gas Water Management Policy

What is coal seam gas water?

Coal seam gas water is groundwater necessarily or unavoidably brought to the surface in the process of coal seam gas production.

The amount of coal seam gas water produced during coal seam gas development varies both with the location and stage of the production cycle. Likewise, the quality of coal seam gas water is highly variable but it frequently contains high quantities of salt and other contaminants that limit the water’s use without treatment.

Why was the policy developed?

Presently across Queensland, significant quantities of water are being produced in the course of coal seam gas water exploration and production.

In the future, coal seam gas water production is expected to expand as a result of:

- government policies intended to shift electricity production from coal to gas-fired generation such as the Queensland Gas Scheme and Climate Smart 2050

- the need to meet the production shortfalls arising as conventional natural gas resources decline

- any additional demand created by proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects.

This increased coal seam gas water production will see a large increase in the volume of coal seam gas water requiring treatment and disposal.

Coal seam gas water has the potential to cause environmental harm if released to land or waters through inappropriate management. Without treatment beneficial uses for coal seam gas water water are limited.

Currently most coal seam gas water is disposed of in evaporation ponds ranging from 1 to 100 hectares in area. Limited quantities of untreated coal seam gas water are used for livestock, coal washing and related petroleum activities.

There are widespread concerns about evaporation ponds and the long-term legacy associated with salt stored in them. Also, as the CSG industry expands, there are concerns about the groundwater and landscape impacts of coal seam gas extraction and coal seam gas water disposal methods.

A number of coal seam gas producers have trialled other beneficial uses including the use of treated coal seam gas water to augment town water supplies, as cooling/blowdown water in power stations and for irrigation and aquaculture.

The Queensland Government has identified a significant imbalance between the volume of coal seam gas water likely to be produced over the next 30 years and the demand for this water by potential users. In this context, the impacts on the environment under current practices are likely to be significant.

Given the range of concerns in relation to the management of coal seam gas water, it is essential that the government provides a clear policy direction for the treatment and disposal of coal seam gas water, and the role the government wishes to play in facilitating greater beneficial use.

What policy options did the government consider?

In developing the policy, the government considered the impact of a continuation of current practices and requirements. This option presents significant ecological risks to landscapes, soil profiles, surrounding aquifers and nearby streams, particularly when considering the likely expansion in water volumes resulting from future LNG projects. Further, it will not maximise beneficial use of coal seam gas water.

A number of coal seam gas producers have claimed the current regulatory environment does not support beneficial use of coal seam gas water. The government gave consideration to relaxing current requirements to further encourage beneficial use as the preferred option of disposal.

In considering this issue, the government found the current regulatory regime provides for beneficial use of coal seam gas water and has committed to work with coal seam gas producers to facilitate a greater understanding of regulatory requirements. The government also found that, given the potentially harmful nature of untreated coal seam gas water, it would be inappropriate to relax current regulatory requirements. This would be likely to increase risks to agricultural and ecological values, through an inability to regulate impacts.

The chosen policy response tightens current requirements to achieve environmentally sustainable outcomes and encourage greater beneficial use of coal seam gas water. It responds to the significant increase in anticipated coal seam gas water volumes and associated management risks. The policy represents a balanced response to the need for coal seam gas producers to dispose of coal seam gas water appropriately, while also considering the need for environmental protection and the interests of regional communities and agricultural stakeholders.

The CSG water policy

The Queensland Government has identified its policy position in relation to coal seam gas water. The diagram below provides an overview of the new policy framework.

See - Diagram.

Key features of the policy include:

- discontinuing the use of evaporation ponds as a primary means of disposal of coal seam gas water. Transitional arrangements will be developed by the government in consultation with industry to address issues with existing evaporation ponds. Remediation of existing evaporation ponds is to occur within three years.

- making CSG producers responsible for treating and disposing of coal seam gas water. Unless the producers use direct injection of coal seam gas water or have arrangements for environmentally acceptable direct use of untreated coal seam gas water, coal seam gas water must be treated to a standard defined by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) before disposal or supply to other water users.

The policy also includes a number of additional changes to the current requirements including:

- ponds necessary for water aggregation and the storage of brine from treatment facilities are to be fully lined to a standard determined by the EPA

- an associated coal seam gas water management plan is to be incorporated into the environmental management plan required for a level 1 environmental authority application

- water which is in excess to that which can be directly injected or beneficially used is to be aggregated for disposal.

More work is to be undertaken to determine policy related to disposal and aggregation of coal seam gas water. The government wants the coal seam gas industry and community groups to help shape it’s final policy and is seeking comment from interested parties on the following two issues:

- appropriate remediation action for existing evaporation ponds

- the circumstances under which industry should be required to cooperate to develop and fund a coal seam gas water aggregation and disposal system (or systems) to deal with coal seam gas water which cannot be directly injected into existing aquifers or has no immediate beneficial uses.

Next steps

The government is currently finalising a discussion paper which will provide an opportunity for the community to make informed comment on relevant parts of the policy. This discussion paper will be available later this year.

Should you require further information on the policy decisions which have been determined or wish to make comment on the two issues outlined above, please contact the Coal Taskforce at coaltaskforce@dip.qld.gov.au

Department of Infrastructure and Planning
Infrastructure and Economic Development Group
PO Box 15009 City East QLD 4002

See - Queensland Coal Seam Gas Water Management Policy.

12:09 PM, April 04, 2009

 

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