Interim Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Coal Seam gas and Coal Mining

Aquatic health - including co-produced water

Managing the risks associated with salt, heavy metals and other chemicals of concern in co-produced water which is an issue of importance to regulators, natural resource managers and the community. Co-produced water is the groundwater/water produced as a by-product during the extraction of coal seam gas. Research will focus on managing salt, heavy metals and other chemicals, as well as options for beneficial use of the water.

Project Title Project Description
Critical science review -
co-produced water
Issues associated with quantity, quality, timing, and potential risks to aquatic ecosystems.
Critical science review -
mining risks to water
Coal seam gas and coal mining techniques, and associated risks to surface water systems and their environmental values.
Critical science review -
managing coal seam gas co-produced water
Disposal options and beneficial use.
The geochemical, organic and isotopic composition of coal seam gas co-produced waters This project will provide:
  • comprehensive geochemical, radionuclide, trace organic and isotopic characterisation of groundwater and formation water within the coal seam gas proposed extraction area prior to development
  • data to assess the composition of produced coal seam gas water in the context of relevant water quality guidelines for consumptive or agricultural use,
  • protocols for monitoring of aquifers and co-produced water over the time period of gas extraction, and
  • establish a set of criteria for ongoing assessment of water quality data from coal seam gas monitoring programs.