Green energy firm plans frack water desalination

Australian renewable energy firm AGL plans to install a 2 Ml/d desalination plant to treat water produced during hydraulic fracturing (fracking) at its Gloucester coal-seam gas project.

AGL’s manager of hydrogeology, John Ross, said the desalinated water could have “so many” beneficial uses. “Our draft strategy proposes that the freshwater can be used for irrigation, however, we are looking at ways to make the water available to third parties in the local area,” he said.

Options under consideration, he said, included  aquaculture, irrigating green areas in Gloucester and forestry projects.

Residual salt could be crystallised and disposed of at a licensed facility, he said but added, the company was still exploring options for its disposal.

AGL has conditional approval to establish 110 coal-seam gas wells in the region as part of its Gloucester Gas Project. Details of the proposed Gloucester plant are included in a draft extracted water management strategy for Stage One of the Gloucester gas project.

The project been through a full environmental assessment and received approval from the New South Wales Planning Assessment Commission, which was upheld by the Land and Environment Court.

In developing the draft strategy, AGL said it took into account community feedback concerning the management of produced and flow back water and options suggested by Gloucester  Shire Council.