Dr Mariann Lloyd-Smith is a senior adviser to the National Toxics Network (NTN) and recently coauthored NTN’s report on the chemical impacts of hydraulic fracturing in the Australian shale and coal seam gas industry.
Dart Energy have been disposing of carcinogenic water abstracted from coal seams directly into the Firth of Forth through a plastic pipe. We already know from incidents in Germany that Benzene can migrate through plastics. Four million liters of effluent passed along this pipe between January 2012 and August 2012.
Mariann describes the Benzene levels produced by a handful of Dart Energy exploration wells as extraordinary and very worrying. The Benzene levels Dart Energy are displaying on their website exceed World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines for drinking water and are 12 times the UK and Australian drinking water standards. Most experts agree that there is no safe level for Benzene in drinking water. It would appear that Dart Energy and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) assume that once discharged the effluent will have no effect on the ecosystem of the estuary or the human population around it.
Mariann also describes the water testing requirements specified by SEPA as extremely minimal when compared to those set by regulators in Australia.
You can see video of the active test site and Firth of Forth disposal site here…
Dart Energy has recently been forced to slash it’s workforce by 70% after its projects in Australia were hit by massive community resistance. Dart has chosen to refocus its efforts here in the UK where it can self regulate and receive tax breaks. However, communities around Airth, Stirling and Falkirk have just launched a new website Falkirk Against Unconventional Gas and have come together to mount a serious challenge to Darts planning application for 14 new sites, 22 wells and 20 km of pipeline.
Dart Energy still have interests in Belgium as part of a joint venture with Limburg Gas. However the government are being very cautious and Dart do not have permission to drill any wells. They are merely exploring using non invasive means.
The variation in the data through time is significant and the specified water quality parameters are laughable when compared with those used in Queensland.