Queensland legislates for centralised CSG brine disposal

The Queensland state government in Australia is introducing legislation to bring about centralised treatment and disposal of water and brine produced from the coal-seam gas (CSG) industry.

The minister for natural resources and mines, Andrew Cripps, introduced proposed amendments to the Petroleum and Gas (Production and Safety) Act 2004 in State Parliament on 2 August 2012 relating to CSG water and brine, registration of pipeline easements, and incidental activities across tenure associated with CSG and natural gas projects.

Currently, CSG companies store untreated water and brine in containment ponds on each petroleum lease and treat it through infrastructure built on site, which is inefficient and costly, the minister said. 

“If the water and brine could be transported off-site to a central location for treatment and salt recovery, the environmental and economic benefits could be significant,” Cripps said. “These amendments provide much-needed flexibility that will help reduce the CSG industry’s environmental footprint through centralising water treatment facilities and limiting the need for holding ponds on each petroleum lease.”

“These amendments could result in the beneficial use of salt produced by the CSG industry for products such as soda ash and soda bicarbonate rather than it being dumped in landfill, and will boost potential for beneficial re-use of CSG water for irrigation,” Cripps added.