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Queensland lays down the law on CSG water

The Queensland State Government has proposed new rules to govern the management of water and brine produced from the coal seam gas industry.

Minister for Natural Resources and Mines, Andrew Cripps, introduced proposed amendments to the Petroleum and Gas (Production and Safety) Act 2004 in State Parliament relating to CSG water and brine, registration of pipeline easements, and incidental activities across tenure associated with CSG-LNG projects.

Currently, CSG companies store untreated water and brine in containment ponds on each petroleum lease and treat it through infrastructure built on site. It is considered inefficient and costly.

If the water and brine could be transported off-site to a central location for treatment and salt recovery, the environmental and economic benefits could be significant.

These amendments provide flexibility that will help reduce the CSG industry’s environmental footprint through centralising water treatment facilities and limiting the need for holding ponds on each petroleum lease.

“Landholders are naturally concerned about the potential environmental impacts of untreated CSG water seeping from containment ponds or affecting their land and water aquifers during floods,” said Cripps.

CSG companies would still require an Environmental Authority and a water licence to transport water and brine off their lease.

The current framework for land access, compensation and land tenure will be extended to ensure landholders are fully compensated for any impacts on their properties.

These amendments could result in the beneficial use of salt produced by the CSG industry for products such as soda ash and soda bicarbonate rather than it being dumped in landfill, and will boost potential for beneficial re-use of CSG water for irrigation.

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