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Fears for Mid West groundwater after reports of gas company polluting aquifer in Qld

A company currently involved in gas exploration and testing in WA’s Mid West has been caught out covering up oil pollution of groundwater aquifers in Queensland.

Executives at Origin, a company which owns a half share of the Waitsia gas field and is active in exploring other mid west gas prospects, were made aware of the oil contamination of the aquifer as early as May 2014, documents obtained by The Australian newspaper show.

Spokesperson for the Frack Free Mid West Gascoyne Alliance Jo Franklin said the cover-up should sound alarm bells across the nation.

“How can we have any faith that companies operating onshore gas exploration and mining in our region will report contamination issues?” Ms Franklin said.

“Origin is a major player in the gas industry and yet it doesn't appear to have advised any authorities that it had polluted a groundwater aquifer that sits above the Great Artesian Basin, the life blood of inland Australia.

“The Australian also reported that the company had secretly expressed concern that 24 out of 76 gas wells tested were leaking and that there were inadequate funds put aside to shut down the company’s operations when it pulled out of Queensland’s Surat Basin.

“These revelations are absolutely shocking. Here we have a major company that has polluted our precious water, left a legacy of leaking wells and wants to shut up shop but hasn't left enough cash to even clean up after itself.

“This is a clear demonstration of how this industry operates and shows that it should be shut down. We simply cannot risk our water, our land and our health to these cowboys.

“Among the evidence revealed by The Australian report was that gas wells were in such poor repair in Queensland that one had even been tied together with string, others were rusting away.

“It is high time the unconventional gas companies listened to the will of the people and stopped this unnecessary, short-term and unsafe mining industry.”

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