Tristan Edis writes in the Climate Spectator:

“It was the last thing that Santos needed after receiving a series of bad reviews from stock market analysts about its failure to grow its reserves of gas.

Last Saturday, The Sydney Morning Herald reported that the NSW EPA had fined Santos because extracted waste water from its coal seam gas drilling in the Pilliga Forest, near Narrabri, had contaminated an aquifer.

But what leaked into the aquifer generates the kind of fear and concern among the community that cannot be calmed by rational discussion or a range of engineering safeguards and expert reassurances. The leak included uranium, at levels about 20 times above the level of Australian drinking water guidelines for human health. Of course, it wasn’t the only nasty element in the water with lead, arsenic, and barium also present. These are all incredibly toxic, but uranium holds a special place in the human psyche due to its association with the atom bomb.”

We think: the possible contamination of aquifers is the most common form of attack on the sustainability of unconventional gas. Santos has done itself and the industry no favours here. In Australia the regulator has teeth.