Bubbling, orange water makes your blood boil

Sydney Morning Herald
March 10th, 2011

Residents of southern Sydney who drink water from the Woronora Dam deserve to be invited into its catchment to see their precious water running bright orange with iron oxide and bubbling with methane (”Catchment gas leak as coalmine cracks”, March 9).

That is the result of operations of that global coalmining giant Peabody Energy.

Instead, people continue to be blindsided. If they dared show up in force and went past the locked gates that assist in hiding this damage they could be fined on the spot for trespassing.

The damage to the Woronora catchment is criminal, and yet it is legitimised by our state government. Don’t feel complacent if you drink water from somewhere else. There are damaging longwall coalmining operations in the catchments of the Cataract, Cordeaux, Nepean and Avon dams as well. All supply drinking water to the greater urban areas of Sydney and Wollongong.

Sharyn Cullis Oatley

Peabody’s glib response regarding mining impact to Waratah Rivulet cannot go unchallenged.

This rivulet supplies a third of the inflow to Woronora Dam which is the sole water supply for Sutherland Shire and Helensburgh.

The dam level was reported by the Herald in January to be at 33.5 per cent, which is 10 per cent lower than it was a year ago despite 1100 millimetres of rain falling in its catchment last year.

When one looks at the catastrophic mining impact that has occurred to the rivulet and its feeder swamp, blind Freddy can see that the flow to the dam storage from this stream must have been affected.

Peabody is still trying to fix damage that occurred six years ago. It is a joke for it to say it is only six months behind schedule. It will never be able to restore the integrity of the catchment with its very limited, unproven applications of polyurethane resin to isolated bars of rock.

Bubbling methane may be a ”a completely natural occurrence in the vicinity of coalmines”, but gas bubbling means the riverbed is cracked. This is utterly unacceptable in any river, but especially so in Sydney’s drinking water catchment ”special area”.

It seems our state government considers the areas not special enough to escape being degraded by coalmining.

Julie Sheppard Razorback

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2 Responses to Bubbling, orange water makes your blood boil

  1. I wonder what many residents would feel if after a general mailing with information about how their drinking and body washing water is being effected (with photo images) by mining activity… and that a government representative is soft peddling the matter? It was by accident that I read this article and I am disturbed by what is going on even though I am a resident of the Hunter Valley. If effected residents were to threaten to setup a class action suite against this government person, just threatening to act may have the desired effect of getting him sincerely involved…. especially if certain medically susceptible cases in the effected population can be brought forward to make their protest heard or a school children action group defending their rights was given media publicity.

  2. Wayne Baker says:

    We simply can not sit back and let this environmental vandalism occur. This country has abundant gas and coal, but water has always been in short supply. This is our most precious resource we are allowing a hand full of selfish, criminal minded, greedy imbeciles to just simply poison. All other resources are useless without water, because we would become sick, starve, then die without good clean drinking water. Some serious kick back dollars must have changed hands for this mining project to get this far. I believe the entire population of Cronulla Sutherland Shire would turn up to protect the Woronora Dam. A strong force of thousands turned up to protect the beach. Let’s get them to fight to protect our water supply. Get the word out and they will come. Put the bangers on the the barbie and raise some money to advertise and educate.


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