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Water Testing – Is Santos pulling a swifty?

Recently I approached Santos with a request to take water samples of my stock and domestic bore, for testing and logging of condition.

 I have 3 Pilot Production Well sets and one Production Core Hole and all associated infrastructure, including Drill ponds and CS Water Storage Dams 2000 meters away from my house and Bore, so to me testing of the Aquifers is of the utmost importance. Eastern Star Gas had no interest in doing any testing for Aquifer quality.

When the Santos water people rang I asked many questions, I listened to the answers to my questions about the process, and I was impressed, that is up until I said ” I wanted my water tested the water for Bi- Carbonates, and I wanted mine to be listed as Sodium Bi-Carbonate (Baking Soda) and not Calcium Bi-Carbonate”. 

Sodium Bi-Carbonate is the major salt bought up from the Coal Seams so it stands to reason that an increase in that level would indicate problems with either the Well or the process of Production and Water transfer or the just plain sloppiness of the Companies Workforce and all this causes Aquifer Contamination.
To say that that did not go down well with Santos, but this is my land and livelihood so I deserve to have a test that will assist in giving an early warning should problems arise. 

Santos if you have nothing to hide: Why are you so against doing the test for Sodium Bi-Carbonate? After all the Coal Seam Gas Industry and APPEA is constantly telling us that Sodium Bi-Carbonate (Baking Soda) is OK because it is used in our food and for medical purposes. So why the resistance to a simple request? What is Santos hiding, what do they know about this seemingly harmless food quality chemical?
Sodium Bi-Carbonate is a killer Chemicals, yes in small doses it is required for all life, but in the quantities bigger than grams IT KILLS and is ALKALINE, so if it does not kill you one way, it will the other by changing the pH (alkalinity) value of the soil. Too much change and the crops/grasses and trees growing in that area will die, keep increasing the dose of Sodium Bi-Carbonate and the ground becomes sterile and will support nothing, just like a desert. 

In Christmas 2009/2010 all the Drill ponds were over-topped by the rains of that time and the contents of the ponds overflowed onto the area of the Pilot Production, through the native vegetation on that private land and eventually found their way via the natural water courses into Jacks Creek and the Naomi River. (see sore article called “12-Jan-2010”).

 These drill ponds contained Potassium Chloride, Sodium Salts, Sodium Bi-Carbonate (see ESG Media release on Mollee Creek Spill) and other chemicals that Eastern Star Gas’ driller Lucas Drilling used, as well as the salts and heavy metals bought up from the Coal Seams below, chief amongst them is Sodium Bi-Carbonate (Baking Soda). Now Sodium Bi-Carbonate is in small doses required for the survival of life.However in large doses it KILLS, and as the water of the Coal seams in this area have at least 7340 parts per million (ppm), this is a concern if it gets into the Aquifer system. This salt dissolves into water more readily than most and hence travels further and faster than the other salts found in the Coal Seam Water once it enters the Aquifers.

As it is not found in the Aquifers located in the Pilliga State Forest region as a natural compound, if found in the Stock and domestic bores and other bores tested, then it is a good indication that something is wrong with the process of containing and treating the coal seam water.

Sodium Bi-Carbonate is also Alkaline in nature, so it will change the very nature of the soils in the area and hence have a permanent effect on the Vegetation of the Region and hence the whole biodiversity of the area known as the Pilliga East State Forest.
You only have to look at the Independent analysis of the latest Discharge that occurred at Santos’  Bibblewindi Water Treatment and Gas gathering Complex. Santos claimed that it was only the Water from the Coal Seams, well if the water from these seams can change the natural soils pH. value from 5.3 (Acid) to 9.9 (Alkaline) then all the areas where coal Seam Gas extraction occurs are doomed never to be any good for ever more.

Forget the co-existance with Farming or Grazing, because nothing grows when watered by this Water and that is a proven fact. Come and see the earliest and latest Discharges as well as those in-between, that have occured in the Pilliga State Forest of NSW Australia.


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