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CSG and Sulphate-Reducing Bacteria

Sulphate-reducing Bacteria cell


Bacteria the Hidden Danger of CSG (below are just some of those dangers and what some of those effected and studying these bacteria have to say):

Coal Seam Gas water harbours dangers that few fully understand, but the CSG Companies, Drilling Companies and the NSW and Australian Federal Governments understand these only too well, and yet these groups have closed their minds to the potential risks that the CSG Industry posess via the production water, not only to the health of the Nation and to the Natural Environment but to the Humans and all air breathing animals.
The effects of the Bacteria released  from the Coal Seam produced water is not confined to the areas of Coal Seam Gas Exploration and Production, but can spread out as when an Aquifer becomes infected with larger numbers of the Sulphate-reducing Bacteria than the natural enemies and consumers of this bacteria can cope with. Then there will be no stopping of the exponential growth of this life preventing Bacteria through-out the entire subterranean water system. The movement of  Sulphate-reducing Bacteria infected Drills Rig when moved from one area to another as well as infected Earth-moving machinery is another way that this Bacteria and its friends are moved from one infected area to a non-infected area, and so the spread of this potentially life threatening Bacteria goes on.

This release of Coal Seam confined and isolated Sulphate-reducing Bacteria, along with the stimulation of the unconfined but naturally controlled surface Sulphate-reducing Bacteria, has already occured in many parts of the world, and is now showing to have very real and big problems that are getting out of control and can only get worse as the CSG Companies try to keep up with a disaster of their own making.
I have sited an actual and well documented experience of the effect of released excess SRB into the environment from a discharge of raw CS Water which supposedly occurred in Julyof 2011 (????), at a site known as the Bibblewindi Gas and Water Gathering Facility located in the Pilliga East State Forest of NSW, Australia. The area of Exploration was in the hands of Eastern Star Gas until November 2011, when SANTOS who was a 35% partner, bought them out.
Santos, at first denied that a spill had occurred, and disputed the Soil Analysis and Water Analysis as done by ‘others’ on the effected area, only to do their own Soil only testing a few weeks later. The results proved to be worse than the one done by ‘others’.  Santos claimed that there was no water available for testing and so no water tests were carried out. The original water Analysis, do by others, did not include a Bacterial Analysis as the importance of Bacterial Infestation was not known at the time. The first, and as far as SORE is aware, the only Bacterial Analysis was carried out by SORE in July of 2012. The results of this analysis revealed very high counts of SRB, acceptable levels of E.coli and Faecal Coliforms, high levels of Napthhalene and Hydrocarbon Utilizing Bacteria as well as a healthy level of Methanogenic Bacteria (230 Methanogen/100mL).  A stock and domestic water bore tested in the area {not SORE’s} had <4 Methanogen/100mL..

But I digress from the SRB problem:    
Even the simple act of misguided test-plot assessment by Santos using Gypsum (Calcium Sulphate dihydrate) mixed into the soil containing the Sulphate-reducing Bacteria caused a major population increase of the SRB, so much so that they can be seen as a white covering on the area of exposed surface of the test plots.
No where is this continued Santos stupidity more evident than in the Pilliga State Forest of NSW Australia, where Santos is attempted in a number of places to rehabilitate the areas effected by spilt CSG water containing the Sulphate-reducing Bacteria and other Bacteria, with Gypsum and wood chips.
At the Bibblewindi Gas and Water Gathering  Santos had never did a water analysis of the area effected so they were completely blind to any Bacterial problems, and when presented with an Analysis of the water Sulphate-reducing Bacteria, by SORE, went into a tail spin and complete panic.  The natural water hole where the water sample was taken had, twice dried up completely between January of 2012  and July 2012 and when sampled had a Sulphate- reducing Bacteria count of 92,000 SRB/100mL., no wonder the test plot containing the Gypsum went white, these guys were having a feast, not only on the Organic Carbon in the soil, but on the Gypsum that was laid before them.  Santos had no idea thatSulphate-reducing Bacteria could live and thrive in moist soils of a surface Aquafer provided that there was no oxygen to kill them off. Thesoils of the Pilliga State Forest are the type that when wet, turn to slush all the way to the clay barrier (as a surface Aquifer does when full of water) and when dry set a very hard surface layer that even oxygen cannot penetrate to any great depth. But spill the saline Coal Seam Water on them and they react in such a manner as to set a impervious top covering even on the exposed and normally loose pure sand areas, just the ideal conditions for the various bacteria to survive and multiply. Plenty of organic Carbon, no natural enemies (their own by-products as well as the human administered biocide took care of that), water to flow and spread with as well as providing nutrients, and the whole of the soil was devoid of Oxygen once the soil top dried out and set hard. What more could a Bacteria want.
Santos was so intent on future exploration and the money and time lost in a botched attempt to do a show piece rehabilitation, that once confronted by the truth of their failure by others, went into such a tail spin as to try and cover up their error and stupidity, by convincing the Authorities to allow the mixing of Cypress Pine and Iron Bark chips and mulch into the Gypsum/soil mix. This was done to fool the public as to what had really been the result of the placing of SRB food, Gypsum, into the soil.
This however, did not work, and at the Bibblewindi Gas and Water Gathering Facility site Santos has now dug up all the soil down to the clay barrier and stored this Sulphate-reducing Bacteria and other Bacteria infected soil, in Lined, Bunded and covered Bunkers.


Gypsum-test-patch-BGWTGF- note white only on plots with Gypsum added 4-11-12

  BGWGF infected area dug out 14-12-12 and still the same  as of 26-12-12

BGWTGF-before-tree-removal- 10-12                         BGWTGF-trees removed and Gypsum put into soil-1st. attempt rehab. 4-11-12

 So much for Gypsum being a top quality Rehabilitation Method, especially when Sulphate-reducing Bacteria are around.

An important point to note, is that the area of soil dug out is regarded as an Aquifer under the definition of an Aquifer as given in the NSW Aquifer Interference Policy of 2012?

Over the years, 
Santos and Eastern Star Gas have infected the Aquifers of the Pilliga State Forest that supply the recharge water to the Great Artesian Basin, with Sulphate-reducing Bacteria as well as other Bacteria and Archaea contained with-in the many discharges of CS Water and by the movement of ‘untreated’ Drill Rigs and Earth-Moving Equipment that contain water and soil upon themaround the surrounding  StateForest  and Private Properties.
Sore, will be as so bold as to say,”He doubts that either of these Companies or their Contractors has ever carried out a full Bacterial or any other type of full cleansing before moving any machinery to another site with-in the PEL238, and he doubts, they have even done a full cleansing of any machinery before leaving the previous place of operation and entering the PEL238.”
In the light of what is now common knowledge about the dangers of Bacteria from the Coal Seam and stimulation of them and their surface cousins by the discharges of CS Water and by the Drilling products contained in these waters. If these waters are allowed to enter the Aquifers before the Bentonite Clay, which is supposed to seal the aquifers off from any fluid exchange (a stated fact that there is water exchange between drill fluids and aquifer water, before any sealing can take place, by both Santos and Eastern Star Gas in many of the Review of Environmental Factors submitted to the Approving Authorities), then how far will the Bacteria, Archeae and Chemicals spread, and in what time frame?
There is enough proof and knowledge, most of it from the Industry it’s self, to show that this industry is destroying the water and soil quality for all time.

Below are just a few examples, some taken from the Internet, some from Australian Government Guidelines and others from first hand experience over almost 12 months, of how Sulphate-reducing Bacteria and a friend are effecting the Environment and why this Coal Seam Gas Industry should be stopped until the Science catches up and gets ahead of the Damaging effects that this industry by their own acknowledgement has exposed and caused.
Read and weep, because listed below are some admissions of what many already know, but the CSG Companies their Allies, many Governments and Politicians of all levels and unfortunately the vast majority of the population, just do not want to know or want anyone to know.

Not listed and or explained fully below are the following Bacteria and Archaea associated Sulphate-reducing Bacteria:Iron Reducing Bacteria (IRB), Iron Precipitating Bacteria (IPB), Hydrocarbon Utilizing (HUB), Naphthalene Utilizing (HUB), Coliforms-E. coli and Faecal, Photosynthetic Bacteria (PB), Methanogenic Bacteria:   Just to name a few that are directly associated with the Coal Seams and their Produced Water.  

Bacteria in the form of  Sulphur Reducing Bacteria and their relatives Archaea in the form of Methangens, most of which are Anaerobic (Oxygen intolerant) and in some rare case, Aerobic (Oxygen tolerant), go hand in hand to consume anything that contains Sulphur, Sulphate, Sulphide, thus producing Hydrogen Sulphide and in doing so they wreck havoc on the infrastructure of the Oil and Gas Industry, by consuming the Steel Well casings and dining on the Cement sealing. Their by-products can also attack Stainless steel in the form of Stress Corrosion, so nothing is safe from them.

A simplistic way that Methane is produced in the Coal Seams isolated from the atmosphere (Oxygen) is given below:
The SulphateReducing Bacteria creating Hydrogen Sulphide Gas while consuming  the Sulphate particles in their food source which in part is the saline water of the Coal Seam which contains large quantities of Sulphate as well as the Coal Seam and Structure material themselves, Hydrogen Sulphide (rotten egg gas), in contact with water forms an acid which ultimately becomes Sulphuric Acid),  thus producing Sulphide (sulfide)  it is at this point that the Methangens, who cannot tolerate Oxygen, come into play and produce Methane  from the Hydrogen in the Hydrogen Sulphide Gas or from the Sulphide and combining this with the Carbon Dioxide.
This simplistic chain as shown above is really a continuous loop, due to other Bacteria and Archaea that feed on the various by-products left over, and re-produce food that the Sulphate Reducing Bacteria and Methangens can consume.

What the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines 6 2011, have to say about Sulphate Reducing Bacteria:
This is also the Drinking Water Guidelines for NSW (according to the NSW Department of Health) 
In Chapter 5 “Microbial quality of drinking water” 5.6.4 ‘Corrosion Problems due to Iron and Sulfur Bacteria’. There is a reinforcement of the Corrosive effect that these Bacteria have on cast iron and storage tanks as well as non metallic materials such as plastics, rubber jointing compounds and plastic lining materials, all of which provide organic nutrients and thus encourage the growth of microorganisms such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa a potential killer of Humans and Livestock.
Pseudomonas aeruginosais seen as a fluorescent Green (very like a rich emerald green colour).  A possible sighting 0f  this bacterium was photographed at Bohena 5
 just after the Drill Rig left the site and during the first rainfall after departure of that Rig. There had been Coal Seam Water spilt on the site during the plugging and abandoning of the well


    Possible Pseudomonas aeruginosa as seen at Bohena 5

  What Wikipedia has to say under Sulphate-reducing bacteria: problems caused by sulfate (sulphate)-reducing bacteria:
“sulfate(sulphate)-reducing bacteria create hydrogen sulfide(sulphide), which contribute to metal corrosion” .
“Hydrogen sulfide from sulfate-reducing bacteria also plays a role in the biogenicsulfide corrosion of concrete”  

What Danlin Drilling and Completion (this a US base drilling company): admission of the SRB problem and a Chemical to ensure that SRB is not transported from one place to another, but what will that chemical do to the good Bacteria in the ground water aquifers?
Sulfate reducing bacteria (SRB) causes severe corrosion by producing hydrogen sulfide gas and iron sulfide solids
Sweet zones were becoming sour after completion and casing failures were occurring due to microbial attack from the bacteria introduced through the drilling and completion process“.
On the fly treatments have limited contact and mixing time allowing bacteria it survive and contaminate the well. The continuous injection and or batch treatment with (brand name)  will control the SRB contamination of the drilling fluids”

What Schlumberger had to say in the Summer of 2012 when referring SRB living in the North Sea Oil and Gas production water:
Microbes in these reservoirs not only lived in extreme conditions, they produced hydrogen sulphide [H2S]. Scouring, or increasing H2S, resulted from injection of sulphate-rich water in North Sea reservoirs and ultimately led to corrosion of both surface and down hole equipment” they go on further to say “MicrobiologicallyInfluenced Corrosion (MIC) is a common occurrence in the oil field and to control it, operators usually treat injected and produced water to mitigatemicrobial action. Complete sterilization of the water is impossible, and microbe control strategies have usually been directed toward disinfection—this is, reduction of microbe numbers to acceptable levels by killing a large portion of the population with a biocide.” “Recent research has shown biocides may not be as effective as previously thought—they may only injure or inhibit but not kill microbes”
Does this sound familiar? The Bacteria and Archaea are adapting to what is being thrown at them, this is because of the over use of chemicals in much the same way that the relatives of them have overcome the biocides used in Hospitals and other places.

Lastly what Santos has said, about the Sulphate-reducing Bacteria level as found in the Aquifer supplying a stock and domestic bore, in a letter dated 18-4-2012, and hand delivered the farmer (SORE) who lives next door to a Coal Seam Gas  Pilot Production Facility called Dewhurst 8 where many CS Water spills and overflowing of Drill ponds have occured since 2009 to 2012, and whose Aquifer suddenly in March of 2012, had a Sulphate-reducing Bacteria count of 2400 SRB/100mL:
Santos has now received that analysis and we provide an excerpt from the report below.You will see that it is showing higher than normal endotrophic plates. Santos’ consultants have advised that the well requires further examination and expressed a serious concern that water from this bore should not be used for domestic purposes”.
Further, our consultants has advised that the nutrients in the bacteria are probably not human nutrients but suggest they are animal nutrients“.
Could the “nutrients” be the dead and rotting Bacteria? We know from further testing at SORE’s own expense, that the Aquifer contains high levels of Methane and Sulphate-reducing Bacteria which produce Hydrogen Sulphide, these gases can kill large numbers of  any trestrial life that would otherwise not be effected by living in close proximity.

Pseudomonas aeruginosa is also one of the bacteria that is commonly referred to as Hydrocarbon Utilizing Bacteria (HUM). They are capable of living in diesel and jet fuel, where they cause microbial corrosion. It creates dark, gellish mats that are often mistaken for “algae” growths. These mats block filters and strainers if not attended too.
The name Pseudomonas aeruginosa translated from Greek and Latin means “false unit germ” “copper rust”. This describes the bacteria well as when seen in laboratories as a culture iy has a “blue-green” characteristic colour.
Pseudomonas aeruginosa is also capable adapting to both microaerobic or anaerobic conditions, it is this ability that is it its potential to kill, because it can live in the Lungs and other critical organs. Cystic fibrosis suffers are predisposed to this bacteria causing infection of the lungs.  Anything with a Lung conditions is at risk because this Bactriare acts with the surrounding mucoid cells to limit the diffusion of Oxygen, hence speeding up death if not treated.
It reduces the natural Immunity. It is also implicated in hot-tub rash.

This is just the start of the debate based on actual Science obtained from the documents put out by the ‘leaders’ in the CSG and Oil Industry, The Australian and NSW Governments, Australian based CSG Companies, and from Privately funded localised (to the Pilliga region) water and soil studies.  


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