In 2009, the Broke Groundwater Monitoring program was established to help the local community understand what impacts, if any, there might be on groundwater resources as a result of exploration for natural gas. The groundwater investigation and monitoring program was developed by Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB), AGL and the former Bulga Community Consultation Committee (BCCC). Professor Garry Willgoose from the University of Newcastle was engaged by the BCCC as an independent expert to peer review the program.
AGL and PB have been carrying out a comprehensive monitoring and investigation program around the Broke and Bulga areas on local groundwater systems since early 2009. The monitoring program covers both shallow alluvium associated with Wollombi Brook and its tributaries, and shallow fractured rock.
The program involves identifying the current groundwater resources, baseline monitoring to understand natural fluctuations, then water level and water quality testing to see what happens to the groundwater systems when water is extracted from the deep coal seams. AGL is committed to continuing the baseline program, and building on what we have learned already.
The monitoring program was extended in 2010 to include the groundwater monitoring bores installed at the Windermere and Spring Mountain properties. Further expansion in the network occurred in 2012 with new monitoring locations on all properties together with a major expansion on AGL’s Yellow Rock property. There are now a total of 42 groundwater monitoring bores in the Broke and Bulga area, comprising 9 at Broke, 11 at Spring Mountain, 17 at Yellow Rock (both 3km from Broke) and 5 at the Windermere property at Bulga. In addition there are two surface water sites (at Spring Mt and Bulga).
Comprehensive monitoring and investigation programs have been carried out by PB since February 2009. All the technical reports are available from the links below. Most recent water level and water quality data is included in the annual monitoring reports and the quarterly updates that have been initiated since September 2013.
AGL Upstream Gas, as part of its CSG exploration and production programs in NSW and QLD, commissioned a desktop study on the occurrence of naturally occurring hydrocarbons in groundwater from Permian coals measures and associated sedimentary rocks. The report prepared by CSIRO and Earth Science and Resource Engineering - Petroleum and Geothermal Research Portfolio Group concluded that most of the detected total petroleum hydrocarbons, PAH (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) and BTEX (benzene, toluene, ethyl benzene and xylenes) compounds appear to be naturally occurring. The complete report is available here.
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