AGL accused of releasing wastewater into Sydney's sewerage system

Issue 
Melinda Wilson of CSG Free Western Sydney locking on. Photo: Colin Ryan

Anti-coal seam gas (CSG) activists took direct action on March 2 to prevent Transpacific Waste Water from accepting waste water from AGL's coal seam gas operations in Camden.

Members of the Knitting Nannas Against AGL, CSG Free Western Sydney, Stop CSG Sydney, Stop CSG Penrith, Stop CSG Camden, Stop CSG Blue Mountains and Stop CSG Hawkesbury showed their concern about Transpacific's handling of AGL's waste water by blockading their trucks.

Toxic water is usually treated by reverse osmosis — a process that does not completely remove all toxic chemicals. But Transpacific uses a filtration system that is even less effective. To make matters worse Transpacific releases AGL's waste water into the sewerage system. This puts waterways at risk, as contaminants in waterways can last for more than 50 years and travel in ground water for more than 10 kilometres.

Bill Ryan, a 94-year-old war veteran, who locked on to one of Transpacific's trucks said: "This is a huge concern for the community. We want to know which sewer Transpacific is using to release AGL's end product waste water. The community is entitled to know where this toxic mining water is being released."

Transpacific is also releasing AGL's end product sludge residue into landfill. This is a concern as fracking sludge contains radioactive elements.

Knitting Nannas Against AGL spokesperson Suzie Gold said: "Western Sydney should not be a dumping ground for these dangerous chemicals. It's clear that Transpacific has no way to completely eliminate them before dumping the end products into our landfills and sewers. Our communities have a right to know which landfill Transpacific is using to release AGLs end product sludge residue."

Transpacific's contract to accept this waste water has allowed AGL to frack with the health of Camden families for way too long. Families living within the Camden Gas Project are suffering health effects such as chronic headaches, bloody noses that spurt like an artery, hair loss, irritation of the eyes and hay fever-like symptoms.

CSG Free Western Sydney spokesperson Melinda Wilson, who locked on to one of Transpacific's trucks said: "Western Sydney residents do not want AGL's toxic legacy in our communities. We demand that Transpacific stop taking AGL's toxic water and encourage AGL to move towards an early closure of the Camden Gas Project."

AGL has said it will leave Camden in 2023.

Transpacific said it has no idea what is in the wastewater they receive from AGL. It said it could not divulge if the waste water was toxic due to confidentiality agreements. The fact a confidentiality agreement is needed should sound alarm bells for the community.

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