The coal seam gas (CSG) industry produces water from coal seams to reduce pressure within the seams and release natural gas. The produced CSG water is prioritised for beneficial use for agriculture, domestic purposes and local industries.

How do we know that this CSG water is safe to use for domestic or agricultural purposes?

Since the 19th century, farmers have been using water in large volumes from bores drilled into coal seams without any processing.

Each year, more than 7 billion litres (GL) of water sourced from coal seams are used for agriculture . However, not all of this water is suitable for direct use. Processing is required in such circumstances.

Near Chinchilla, in the heart of Queensland’s CSG fields, the state-owned water wholesaler, SunWater buys up to 85 million litres of processed water a day from a CSG company and resells it to local users, including farmers.

The processed water is extensively tested. Water quality samples are taken weekly and sent to a NATA accredited laboratory for independent analysis and reporting. SunWater reports publicly every quarter on what is measured and what the tests found.

Tests are made for some 55 different substances, including:

  • endocrine disrupting compounds
  • disinfection by-products
  • industrial organics
  • inorganics
  • metals
  • nitrosamines
  • nutrients
  • polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
  • radionuclides
  • total petroleum hydrocarbons
  • volatile organic compounds.

This ensures the quality of the water provided to SunWater is consistently of a standard that protects public health and safety.