Taranaki gas field contaminates soil

Taranaki gas field contaminates soil by Tova O’Brien, September 19, 2012, 3 News
3 News can reveal hundreds, potentially thousands of cubic metres of soil have been contaminated by toxic chemicals at a gas field in Taranaki. Six well sites at the Kapuni gas field south of New Plymouth used unlined pits in the earth to store and burn off chemicals from operations, including hydraulic fracturing. And the company was sometimes doing so without the required council consent. Kapuni is the oldest gas field in the country. For decades the normal practice was to use unlined pits to store and burn off chemicals and sludge from the wells. … Green Party energy spokesman Gareth Hughes says it is a problem. “The contamination’s mostly from the range of BTEX chemicals from old hydrocarbons, but it’s because of the absolutely shoddy practice of storing the stuff in unlined earthing pits.” … One pit was used as recently as February last year to store hydraulic fracturing fluid. … “Under some circumstances some fracturing may have contributed,” Mr Bedford says. However this is contrary to what Energy Minister Phil Heatley has said about fracking in Taranaki in recent months. “It’s been done very, very well, there have been no environmental effects whatsoever.” And today, following his opening address at the Petroleum Summit which was interrupted by a protest, Mr Heatley tempered his view on fracking. “It’s been reasonably-well managed, there haven’t been significant incidences.” So the Government has re-assessed its view of fracking in Taranaki from “done very, very well” to “reasonably-well managed”. [Emphasis added]

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