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Whats the difference between drilling spills past and present

Click here for a copy of ESG’s media statement on the matter

Last weekend I was looking back over my collection of video tapes on Eastern Star Gas. I noticed many recorded instances of grey trails stretching down dirt roads in the State Forests, Council Roads and Private Lands; stretching back to May 2009, when my interest in Eastern Star Gas was first seriously sparked. Earlier I had seen what I thought was just “Dirty Water” running off a Drill Site known now as Dewhurst7, down Monument Road and across the road to where a small hump had recently been installed. It was running into the bush. Not being interested at the time I just noted what I saw and moved on. However, my curiosity had been raised. State Forests were notified at the time, but, in a casual phone call. At a later date I drove past the site all signs of this “Dirty Water” had been removed along with the hump. The trail into the bush had been graded over. That was my first encounter with drilling fluids. Because of the recent spill and all the resulting publicity, I searched my records, and sure enough, there it was mentioned in passing on tape and at the actual site.

SO HOW LONG HAVE THESE SPILLS BEEN GOING ON? RECORDS AVAILABLE TO ME CLEARLY SHOW THAT AUTHORITIES KNEW ABOUT THESE OCCURRENCES SINCE AUGUST 2002 AND POSSIBLY EARLIER.

SO WHAT DID THEY DO ABOUT IT? NOTHING! You will notice from the tone of Mr. D Casey’s quote, in the attached media statement, that Eastern Star Gas may have something to hide, especially when you look at the reply that ESG made in the Northern Daily Leader, to a story that paper ran in regards to the TWO(2) WASH-OUT EVENTS OF DECEMBER 26 -2009 and JANUARY 1 -2010 {see article on this site}. On 31-01-2010 ESG said, and I quote in part;

“The fluid in the ponds comprises water, bentonite clays, food industry-grade polymers and potassium chloride”.

“Potassium chloride is very commonly employed by farmers as a fertilizer in the improvement of pastures; it is an inert substance, biodegrades readily and does not present any risk or environmental harm”.

“The flooding of these ponds and the incidental losses of depleted drilling fluids has not, and will not, lead to any environmental damage.” Then they go on with not been able to get to Dewhurst8 because of it being declared natural disaster area. Eastern Star Gas had not carried out the proper preventive measures that were written in the REF for Dewhurst 8 written in July 2009 and approved by the NSW GOVERNMENT. Eastern Star Gas recognised the problem well before December 2009 but failed to act on it. Eastern Star Gas could have travelled to and around the site – even done repairs with bulldozers. The owner of the site was available from December 29. He is a contractor with Eastern Star Gas and has Bulldozers, Graders, Bobcats and Scrappers available on site. Like most businesses Eastern Star Gas went on holidays and did not ensure adequate services were maintained to cover all emergencies. What would Eastern Star Gas have done if the dam at Bibblewindi had leaked? Eastern Star Gas failed to check these sites over the holiday period. I live next door and I could use the roads so ESG’s excuses are flimsy to say the least.

The REF for Tintsfield was written in November 2009 and put on DPI website January 2010. Eastern Star Gas again failed to carry out measures to ensure that this ”INCIDENT” would not happen. Please refer to the REF under section 4.4 Water. ESG states “No impacts are likely to be introduced onto local creeks and water courses through the installation of the Tintsfield CSG Pilot”.

So what happened? Will Eastern Star Gas tell the public the real truth? Will the DII tell the public the real truth?

The Media Statement mentions “SALTS”. This is the first time Eastern Star Gas has mentioned SALT in its drilling fluids since the REF on Water Treatment back in 2006.

WIKIPEDIA addresses potassium chloride as follows;

1 “If taken orally Potassium chloride is toxic at dosages of 2.5g/kg meaning that the lethal dose for 50% of people weighing 75kg(165lb) is about 190g(6.7 ounces). Intravenously this is reduced to just over 100mg/kg, but of more concern are its severe effects on the cardiac muscles; high doses can cause cardiac arrest and rapid death, ergo its aforementioned use as the third and final drug delivered in the lethal injection process.

2 It is used for making liquid starter fertilizer and forms a small part of fertilizers. (In my experience, TOO MUCH FERTILIZER KILLS BOTH STOCK AND FERTILITY OF SOILS.

3 It is readily absorbed by water and rots once exposed to free air. Hence where water. goes so does the Potassium chloride and if no or little free air or sunlight is available will stay in suspension until the water dries up and the it returns to it’s crystal state and if not picked up by plants will await re absorption”. In my opinion, the salts will therefore travel easily THROUGH UNDERGROUND AQUIFERS THAT SUPPLY HUMANS, STOCK AND ALL NON FLORA AS WELL TRAVELLING TO AND THROUGH THE GREAT ARTESIAN BASIN.

4 “It is used (all be it rarely) in fetal intracardiac injections in second-and third-trimester induced abortions.

5 It is sometimes used in water as a completion fluid in Petroleum and Natural Gas Operations.

6 It is used as an alternative to sodium chloride in household water softener units.

7 It was used as a fire extinguishing agent but was replaced due to its corrosive and reduced effectiveness.

8 It is required by the human body and animals to survive but only in minute quantities and it is in the minute quantities that it is used medically intravenously in the treatment of hypokalemia and associated conditions, for digitalis poisoning, and as an electrolyte replenisher. SIDE EFFECTS CAN INCLUDE GASTROINTESTINAL DISCOMFORT INCLUDING NAUSEA AND VOMITING, DIARRHEA AND BLEEDING OF THE DIGESTIVE TRACT.”

So from the above it is little wonder that Eastern Star Gas went into a tail spin over this concentrated drilling fluid spill, no wonder Eastern Star Gas tried to discredit and down play the Christmas overflows and all the unlined dams. It is surprising that the then DPI went into bat for Eastern Star Gas once I located, recorded and notified them. ONCE THIS CHEMICAL GETS INTO THE AQUIFERS – AND IT MUST, BECAUSE EASTERN STAR GAS USES TONNES OF IT TO PROP UP THE EARTHEN WALLS OF THEIR GAS HOLES TO PREVENT COLLAPSE OF THE WALLS WHILE DRILLING. ESG USES IT TO SUPPORT THESE WALLS UNTIL THE CASING IS IN PLACE. SO THE MAJORITY OF THIS CHEMICAL IS WELL BELOW GROUND, UNABLE TO BE ABSORBED BY PLANTS OR BROKEN DOWN BY SUNLIGHT.
SO WHY ARE WE USING SUCH A DEADLY CHEMICAL? I quote Wikipedia “IT IS CHEAP COMPARED TO OTHER DRILLING AIDS”.

SO AGAIN I ASK WHY ARE WE USING SUCH A DEADLY CHEMICAL?

I CALL UPON THE STATE AND FEDERAL GOVERNMENTS AS WELL AS ALL POLITICIANS TO PUSH FOR A FULL AND OPEN INQUIRY INTO THE USE OF CHEMICALS IN THE MINING INDUSTRY AND THEIR LONG TERM EFFECTS ON THE ABOVE AND BELOW GROUND ENVIRONMENTS. WATER RESOURCES AND THE HEALTH OF THE PEOPLE LIVING NEAR GAS MINES SHOULD BE MONITORED.

THIS COULD BE ANOTHER ASBESTOS DISASTER.

Answer me this; was the spill at Tintsfield preventable given the current operating guide lines for this industry?

Other questions like “How much Potassium chloride are ESG Drillers using per hole? From information SORE has, at least 30 tonnes were used in 6 holes from October to December 2009 at the Dewhurst 8 complex

Eastern Star Gas, HOW MUCH OF THIS CHEMICAL HAVE YOU USED IN YOUR COMPLETE DRILLING PROGRAM?

WHY WILL YOU NOT DO A REGULAR WATER ANALYSIS ON THIS DRILL FLUID AND PUBLISH THE RESULTS?

Your last published water analysis was 2006 and that was very comprehensive. Mr D. Casey seemed to contradict that Analysis in ESG’s reply to the Senate Inquiry Into The Effects of Mining on the Murray Darling Basin. SO WHAT IS THE NEW TRUTH ABOUT THE CONTENT OF DRILL FLUIDS AND THE VARIOUS CHEMICALS DRILLING AIDS?

WHERE HAS THE SALT COME FROM?

A water analysis of my bore water shows; electrical conductivity as 178 uS/cm
TDS 85.71 mg/L

Sodium 22mg/L

So I don’t have much SALT in my water, and around Tintsfield, which is still The Southern Recharge for the Great Artesian Basin, they don’t have SALT in their water either. SO WHERE IS IT COMING FROM IN SUCH LARGE QUANTITIES? ARE EASTERN STAR GAS DRILLERS USING IT AS A DRILL AID? AND WERE THOSE 2 PALLETS OF NaCl (SALT) LOCATED AT BIBBLEWINDI WEST WELLS ALONG WITH 1 PALLET OF POTASSIUM CHLORIDE DESTIONED FOR THE DRILL RIG OR IS EASTERN STAR GAS CONTRACTORS USING THESE CHEMICALS TO STERALISE THE PAD SITES AND BURIED GAS AND DRILLING FLUID PIPELINES?

SO WHY IS EASTERN STAR GAS SO CONCERNED OVER A LITTLE SPILL? EASTERN STAR GAS HAS HAD THEM IN THE PAST AND NO-ONE HAS GOT INTO A FLAP, SO WHY NOW?

Mr T. Donnan of Eastern Star Gas claims that the company never needed an ENVIRONMENTAL LICENCE, in fact, they DONT have one. WILL EASTERN STAR GAS NOW REQUIRE ONE AND THAT IS WHAT THEY ARE AFRAID OF ALONG WITH THE REPORTING THAT GOES ALONG WITH IT, IS EASTERN STAR GAS AFRAID THAT THE GENERAL PUBLIC MIGHT FIND OUT WHAT A FEW ALREADY KNOW?

Narrabri Shire Council should now look seriously at its policy of TAKING DRILLING FLUIDS FROM THESE GAS COMPANIES BECAUSE DOES THE COUNCIL ACTUALLY KNOW WHAT IT IS GETTING?

I have included an analysis Santos gave to Narrabri Shire Council in August 2009. READERS LOOK AT IT DOES IT MAKE SENSE AND WHAT DOES IT TELL YOU?

Did the animals that died on Eastern Star Gas sites die of potassium chloride poisoning?
Is this the truth and the link that Eastern Star Gas does not want known?

3rd March 2010

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