The Stream, March 10: Australia Coal Seam Gas Operation Fined for Polluting Groundwater
A coal seam gas operation in Australia’s Pilliga forest contaminated groundwater supplies with arsenic, lead and uranium after the facility’s storage ponds leaked, the Guardian reported. The contamination led to a $1,500 fine and calls from environmentalists and farmers to halt the operation, though the company says the groundwater was not part of a usable aquifer.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency is urging cities to utilize green infrastructure to combat combined sewer overflows caused by heavy rainstorms, releasing guidance documents on March 7, Bloomberg News reported. Combined sewer overflows, which release an untreated mixture of raw sewage and storm water into the environment, contribute to nutrient pollution and beach closings in the country’s rivers and lakes.
Drought in southern Pakistan has affected 900,000 people, possibly contributing to the deaths of dozens of children under age 5, , Reuters reported. Many of the children died from malnutrition, which was likely exacerbated by the drought, and dry conditions may have made it more difficult for poor families to access health care.
High tides in the Pacific island nation of Kiribati have flooded homes, contaminated fresh groundwater supplies, and destroyed crops, Radio Australia reported. Officials say it could take weeks or months for the contaminated groundwater supplies to recover from the saltwater intrusion.
The Stream is a daily digest spotting global water trends. To get more water news, follow Circle of Blue on Twitter and sign up for our newsletter.
A news correspondent for Circle of Blue based out of Hawaii. She writes The Stream, Circle of Blue’s daily digest of international water news trends. Her interests include food security, ecology and the Great Lakes.
Contact Codi Kozacek
Having Santos, the Australian gas company, pay a fine of only $1500 seems ridiculously low. If the government there wants to encourage more drilling, it’s going to have to provide incentives for companies to leak their frac fluids all over the place, something $1500 just won’t do.