Fluoride Action Network

Dalby: Rogue test raises fears of coal seam gas impact on Dalby water supply

Source: The Courier-Mail | August 11th, 2010 | By Steven Wardill
Location: Australia

A ROGUE test result has sparked concerns coal seam gas exploration is impacting on the water supply of a western Queensland town.

The Courier-Mail has learnt that officers from the Western Downs Regional Council last week alerted authorities about the sample at Dalby.

The water contained FLUORIDE at nine times the usual amount and salinity at a rate 10 per cent above normal testing.

The council alerted the State Government’s Office of Water Supply Regulation as well as CSG producer Arrow Energy, which has nearby bores.

The unusual sample is certain to fuel fears about CSG among locals, who this week tried to form a blockade and prevent another gas producer from conducting seismic testing.

Mayor Ray Brown said the council was obliged to inform authorities about the sample but subsequent tests had been taken.

“Those tests have come back all within normal now,” he said.

Cr Brown said locals would not have tasted anything different as the water was treated before going to households.

Natural Resources Minister Stephen Robertson said fluoride occurred naturally and seasonal variations could have affected samples.

“There is certainly no suggestion that Arrow is responsible for that,” he said.

Mr Robertson said the department would throw its efforts into finding what caused the fluctuation.

In a statement, an Arrow energy spokeswoman said the company had not drilled any wells for either exploration or production in the area for more than 12 months.

She said the higher-than-usual fluoride sample was still within current health standards and below current dosing levels for urban water supplies.

“Arrow Energy has already engaged two independent contractors to analyse further water samples to confirm both fluoride and saline levels.”

The Government is expected to soon announce a new plan to protect prime cropping land from mining in western Queensland.