Fracking in Southland exposed
Wed, 27 Jun 2012 6:00p.m.
By Tova O’Brien
3 News can reveal previously unreleased details of one the few sites in New Zealand to use the controversial method of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.
In the warmer months, Orauea stream in Southland is a great trout fishing spot. In the 1990s it was also a great dumping spot for fracking fluid and waste water.
“The industry's very much assuring people it's got everything under control but when you look at some of the things that have happened in the past - this incident you’re talking about and up in the Taranaki - I think it pays for the public to be very watchful,” says Environment Southland councillor Robert Guyton.
A now-defunct company set up two wells in 1995 to prospect for coal seam gas just south of Ohai in Southland.
Each well was fracked using water, sand and 95 litres of a chemical which breaks down into formaldehyde.
The chemical was created by Halliburton - the company associated with one of the world's worst environmental disasters, the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. And usefully it was Halliburton providing the safety information about the chemical.
“There were some very unsafe practices adopted there and the public just weren't given a say and the council wasn't even aware of it in 2012,” says Greens energy spokesman Gareth Hughes.
That's because environmental monitoring stopped as soon as the project did.
But over the 21 months it was active, more than 11 million litres of waste water - including fracking chemicals and potentially carcinogenic coal residue - was dumped in the stream.
“The stream was looked at with regard to its ability to assimilate such waste water,” says Environment Southland consents manager John Engel.
“The nature of it was such that it was relatively clean water but it did contain materials from the coal seam that were not normal for that stream.”
The permit - granted by Environment Southland - to dump the waste was non-notified, meaning only the bare minimum of people knew.
“Should locals in Southland be concerned? Well no, I have no understanding as to why they should be. Of course it happened in '94, '95,” says acting Energy and Resources Minister Steven Joyce.
Environment Southland couldn't even remember that fracking had taken place in Southland when first asked.
When asked if all councils needed to be audited, the Government says no - the councils are responsible.
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29/10/2012 2:13:32 p.m.
Jam Relish wrote:
i disagree with all of you. yeah. i went there. any normal human being would agree with me... !
24/07/2012 1:23:58 p.m.
So the stream is still a good trout fishing location which means the dumping of frack fluid didn't alter anything. Things have changed a lot since 95 10 years of endless environmental laws this is just another TV3 sensation story with little science and a lot of conjecture. if you look at the US experience the scare stories are boundless but no science to prove that Fracking has or will do any harm and as they have been Fracking since 65 I think the EPA would have banned it by now if any evidence had been forthcoming. Link to a film on the brighter side of Fracking.
19/07/2012 10:14:46 a.m.
Frida Inta wrote:
Local government needs to be controlled and audited; there is not enough strength in the RMA to ensure that local councils carry out their duties to the standard imposed in the RMA. There needs to be a new section providing for more accountability from local councils. some local councils are good but in the Buller development is given great priority over any conservation.
17/07/2012 3:18:49 p.m.
Does anything change, from agent organge, DTDs, it sems chemical companies can dump this stuff with as less regard.When you own political parties you can get away with anything. Mining needs a 5% levy on profits as a insurance policy. The governments 6% royalties is criminal.
13/07/2012 3:17:58 p.m.
HUANG. I disagree with you. The NZ Green Party is saying that some people and their practices have a history of lying to the caring public.
They do not advocate going back to horse-drawn transport, but they do say that we should exploit resources with care.
Do we want to be like China, and live in a society where dissent is silenced brutally by utterly ruthless plunderers?
12/07/2012 11:20:48 a.m.
Greens digging up something in 94, 95 to be in the news! The Greens stand for doing nothing while they drive cars and use technologies that benefited from oil and natural resources.
12/07/2012 8:12:08 a.m.
@ROSS yes that is a good documentary people need to watch in order to understand the negative impacts of fracking.
Of course it's important for NZ to ban these sort of operations when our tourism industry relies on our clean green, environmental image - 100% pure NZ.
11/07/2012 5:59:12 p.m.
Get together & lien the Governing Corporate body, The NZ Company that calls itself a political Government.
28/06/2012 1:34:00 p.m.
might be interesting to look at the drilling fluids rather then the Frac fluids used,Just saying
28/06/2012 10:43:47 a.m.
Ross S. wrote:
There is a good movie about what has happened/is happening (mostly secretly) in US - GasLand. Check out the trailer here: http://youtu.be/phCibwj396I
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