To Whom It May Concern,
Thank you for receiving this email. Unfortunately I was not given a contact name to send this email to, although a Dr Young was mentioned in my phone conversation with the EPA. I was directed to this address via the EPA who were unable to assist me with my inquiry.
I have made a similar inquiry of Victoria Jackson, Dept of Energy and her answer of "if something like that did show up it would be dealt with appropriately and sent to appropriate facilities". When I asked where those facilities were she stated she "thought" they were in WA, SA and NSW. I believe this to be an inadequate answer given the potentially serious nature of my inquiry. Victoria has agreed to meet to hear citizens concerns, however it is now nearly a month sine speaking to her and we still have no set date for this meeting. I have also spoken to Adam Giles re this matter, was assured of a meeting with himself and Bill Freeland of the EPA, but again there would appear to be game of dodge ball occurring when it comes to setting a date for this meeting.
My inquiry relates to what is happening to the core drilling waste from gas exploration wells currently being drilled in the NT. The experience in the USA is that this drill waste can contain radioactive elements as well as numerous other heavy metal contaminants. In the USA radioactivity has been accidentally detected as all municipal dumps screen all waste for radioactivity due to previous incidents with radioactive waste dumping of medical origins.
Current exploration permit details state that companies will dump core drill waste "municipally". Am I right in assuming this means the local dump, or have other provisions been made for this drilling waste and if so what are they? Are you aware of where the drill waste from Manbullooo, the Sturt Plateau or Tanimbirini explorations have gone and how they have been assessed as free of radioactive isotopes or heavy metals? How are these drill samples investigated as safe and by whom? What is the waste is routinely tested for and how many times is any wells rock waste is tested as it is drilled? Is the potential for this drilled rock/sludge to leach into surrounding waterways this wet season from these "municipal sites"? Given we are entering a wet season I would like an inventory of where all core drilled waste has gone to from exploration that has occurred over this dry season.
Given the large number of uranium deposits scattered throughout the NT, and given these companies are drilling to 5000 metres below the surface I feel my question deserves adequate attention.