An article published in the Sydney Morning Herald on Saturday 28 March, implies that the residual brine from Santos proposed water treatment facility at Leewood, south of Narrabri, will have “nowhere to go”.

The article follows Santos’ submission of documents to the NSW Government seeking approval to construct the water treatment facility.

The facility will allow the salty water produced during exploration and appraisal program to be treated and about two thirds to be reused to irrigate a section of Leewood and for operational activities including construction and dust suppression. The submission will also consider opportunities for beneficial reuse of the treated water for third party irrigation or fire-fighting purposes.

Santos wishes to make a few points clear about the Herald’s article.

  • Our work near Narrabri is in its early stages, we are still exploring – we are not yet at production stage.
  • While we are in the exploration phase the brine will be stored in the double lined purpose built ponds at Leewood.
  • In the future, if we get to a sanctioned development project, which will be subject to EIS approval, we will be disposing of the salts either commercially or to registered landfill in compliance with the conditions of any and all approvals.
  • We are currently working with industry experts to develop salt handling solutions which will then be put in place subject to the project being approved and moving to the development phase.
  • Today and in the future, waste from Santos’ Narrabri operations will be tested and classified according to NSW Government guidelines.  This classification of the waste determines the appropriate handling and safe disposal procedures.
  • It is important to note this compliance is monitored and enforced by the NSW Environment Protection Agency.

Peter Mitchley, General Manager – Santos Energy NSW