Mystery over methane gas in Condamine River

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Mystery over methane gas in Condamine River

by: John McCarthy
From:The Courier-Mail
January 22, 20138:39PM

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THE methane bubbling up through a section of the Condamine River posed no health or environmental risk, but the State Government still does not know where it comes from.

Natural Resources and Mines Minister Andrew Cripps said his department had mapped 60km of the Condamine River downstream from Chinchilla Weir, as well as 10km of the Charley’s Creek tributary and safety testing four gas seeps and adjacent properties.

“While the results of this report don’t provide definite evidence of the source or cause of the gas seeps, we are taking a long-term approach to find science-based answers to this phenomenon,” Mr Cripps said.

“The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (DEHP) has also conducted water and soil sampling at targeted seep and background sites along the river.

“Analysis of these results has to date found no evidence of gas safety or water quality risks to the community from the gas seeps or any evidence of environmental harm.

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“Results also indicate that the gas is predominantly composed of methane, consistent with gas originating from Surat Basin geological formations.”

Mr Cripps said Queensland Government agencies had started the next phase of their investigation into the bubbling gas seeps downstream of Chinchilla Weir in the Condamine River.

“The focus of new activities will be ongoing water quality monitoring and periodic gas safety assessments of the river and water bores on adjacent properties,” he said.

Some local farmers claim the river had always bubbled and local water bores in the area have also been known to flammable, but environmental activists claim the Condamine has never been known the bubble so extensively and blame the coal seam gas industry.

Residents around Tara said the heavy rain on the weekend left puddles that were also bubbling.

Mr Cripps said the Government was still working with landholders and industry to determine the source or cause of the Condamine River gas seeps.

“Government agencies have already undertaken comprehensive investigations and testing along the Condamine River independent of the investigation being conducted by coal seam gas company, Origin.

“A key aspect of the Government’s ongoing gas seep investigation is the verification of Origin data in order to ensure the company’s investigation is rigorous and is independently assessed,” he said.

“An independent scientific review will be completed by Queensland’s Chief Scientist, Dr Geoff Garrett, to ensure that Origin’s investigation and verification actions by government agencies, achieve a high scientific standard and integrity.

“All this work will be coordinated by the government’s LNG Enforcement Unit and adjacent landholders will be kept fully informed about activities and findings.”

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