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