AGL Energy Limited (AGL) today announced it will invest in a desalination plant to remove salt from produced water that is released during coal seam gas production in Gloucester.

As part of the draft Extracted Water Management Strategy that AGL is currently developing, AGL proposes that desalination utilising reverse osmosis will be the primary water treatment technology for produced water at the Gloucester Gas Project.

In developing the draft strategy, AGL took into account community feedback concerning the management of produced and flow back water and options suggested by Gloucester Shire Council in their recent produced water report.

AGL’s Manager of Hydrogeology, John Ross, said the desalinated water - which will have low levels of salt similar to drinking water - could be primarily used for irrigation purposes with the residual salt crystallised and disposed at a licensed facility.

“There are so many beneficial uses for the freshwater once it has been desalinated. Gloucester Shire Council also found this to be the case in their recent produced water report,” Mr Ross said.

“Our draft strategy proposes that the freshwater can be used for irrigation, however, we are looking at ways to make the water available to third parties in the local area.

“This could include some of the preferred options in the Council’s report, such as new industries, aquaculture, irrigating green areas in Gloucester and forestry.”

Mr Ross added that reverse osmosis is a proven technology to treat brackish and saline water both in Australia and around the world.

“Another advantage of desalinated water is that we can control the water quality to achieve what we need for different uses,” he said.

The draft Extracted Water Management Strategy will soon be circulated to regulatory agencies in accordance with AGL’s approval conditions, and consultation workshops are planned to be held in Gloucester. AGL will also make the draft strategy available to the community both online and in information sessions. The exhibition period will be four weeks and anyone is welcome to give feedback.