Methane bubble busted

Dick Howard says there are bigger issues at hand than methane in the water.
Dick Howard says there are bigger issues at hand than methane in the water. Georja Ryan

WHILE people squirmed at the sight of methane gas bubbling to the surface of the Condamine River as a result of coal seam gas mining, Dick Howard said there were much bigger fish to fry.

Mr Howard of Dick Howard Pumps, knows all about the ins and outs of water and chemicals and said it wasn't methane gas that posed a problem to our water systems, but the people digging it up.

"Methane is a natural gas that comes from things that have rotted and things rot in river beds all the time," Mr Howard said.

"The methane that comes from a rotting log is no different to the one that comes from this mining."

"The biggest risk is the damage they're doing to the aquifers."

Mr Howard said he had noticed bores around Millmerran where water had been destroyed as a result of aquifers, or underground water systems mixing together and spoiling the fresh water.

"The miners aren't sealing the aquifers properly and the government is not supervising it and letting them run wild," Mr Howard said.

"They're digging holes that go straight through the different levels of aquifers and allows them to mix, which is destroying our water resources."

Mr Howard refers to the sealing off process, sometimes referred to as cementing or grouting, which is done to seal the different levels of underground water canals and separate fresh water from the others.

"Once you mix them, the water is irretrievable and you can't fix it," Mr Howard said.

An Origin Energy spokesman assured all CSG work through the company was done so water streams were not spoilt.

"Our wells are constructed to stringent design standards and regulations with multiple barriers that prevent fluids and groundwater from moving between underground formations or coming to the surface," he said.

"Once the well is drilled, a steel casing is installed and cemented in place which forms a very secure barrier."

Topics:  coal seam gas mining condamine river gas methane warwick

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