AGL tests reveal no trace of toxic chemical Tolcide at fracking site

AGL says testing has revealed no levels of the anti-bacterial agent Tolcide in groundwater around its fracked Waukivory pilot project near Gloucester.
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AGL’s coal seam gas operations near Gloucester.

The company said it tested groundwater and surface water samples for Tolcide (also known as THPS or hydroxymethylnasulfate) from eight locations, upstream and downstream from the pilot site before, during and after hydraulic fracturing operations.

Tolcide – used to prevent bacterial growth in gas wells – is also used in the dairy industry as a cleanser.

The results of the testing were handed to AGL yesterday (Tuesday).

“The results came in today and all groundwater samples tested less than the laboratory test limit of detection for THPS, which is 50 parts per billion,” AGL’s group general manager of upstream gas Mike Moraza said.

“All surface water results showed THPS levels at less than the limit of detection, with the exception of two; one from upstream of the site and another downstream.

“However, these results, at 57 and 59 parts per billion, fall within the margin of error limits for the laboratory tests.”

AGL has been under fire from opponents of coal seam gas after it emerged it had fracked four wells near Gloucester before the EPA (Environment Protection Authority) had approved testing for the chemical.

“AGL’s report states that the EPA didn’t approve the methodology for testing Tolcide levels until December 19, after all four wells had been fracked,” Groundswell Gloucester’s John Watts said.

The EPA revealed last week that AGL had informed its office that ground and surface water monitoring data from its Gloucester operations during November had detected “extremely low levels” of another chemical used in fracking.

Monoethanolamine borate is a chemical used in the hydraulic fracturing process to alter the viscosity of the fracture stimulation fluid.

An EPA spokeswoman said all chemicals used in the fracking process had been subject of a risk assessment and approval by Office of Coal Seam Gas.

“OCSG determined that the chemicals to be used were fit for purpose, including THPS and borate,” the spokeswoman said.

Mr Moraza said he was confident the results from most recent round of testing proved the fracking process was safe.

“Neither of the (elevated readings for Tolcide) coincides with detections of the other reportable component of hydraulic fracturing fluid, Monoethanolamine,” he said.

“We believe the fact the detections are nil, negligible and isolated from each other strongly indicates these trace level readings are not from hydraulic fracture stimulation.

“We understand the community’s concern for the safety of local water resources and we take our responsibility to protect water very seriously.

“Our monitoring and testing regime is of the highest standard. I don’t know of any more thorough testing in this industry than what we have been required to do for our pilot at Gloucester.”

Despite this, an AGL spokeswoman said the results had prompted a full review of the sampling and testing process for its November 2014 water monitoring.

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Narooma area police report: Jan. 21

Cuttagee rescue
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A GROUP of teenagers was washed out of Cuttagee Lake into the ocean Saturday afternoon but another group of tourists with surfboards came to the rescue and brought them back to shore.

Police say one of the rescued teenagers was really exhausted and they were all extremely lucky to have been saved.

Park thefts

TWO unsecured sets of fishing rods were stolen from the caravan park in Bermagui at around 10.40pm Friday.

Suspects were seen and spoken to by other visitors who have given descriptions to police and two fishing rods were recovered and have been sent for forensic testing while police also have CCTV footage.

Then overnight Saturday a bag, portable DVD, DVDs, magazines and a special burn bandage as well as another fishing rod were also stolen from sites in the park.

Police remind campers to secure belongings and not leave valuables in plain sight.

Cars damaged

THREE cars were damaged last week on the Princes Highway outside Sheraton Court, Narooma when suspects were seen breaking side mirrors.

Police have descriptions of the suspects and are reviewing CCTV footage around town and are confident of identifying them.

Drug dog

A SPECIAL police operation saw a drug detection dog and team of officers enter licenced premises from Tathra to Moruya, including pubs and clubs in Bermagui, Tilba and Narooma on the weekend.

An amount of cannabis was detected on a patron at a club in Narooma on Saturday night.

Falcon stolen

UNKNOWN persons broke into a residence on Thompson Parade, Dalmeny overnight on Sunday stealing the keys to and taking a 2000 model, green Ford Falcon sedan that has not yet been recovered.

Break foiled

THIEVES broke into a second-storey unit on Noble Parade through a side vent between 4pm and 5.40pm Thursday but left behind a Playstation 3 and DVD player inside the ceiling when they were likely interrupted.Forensic testing and fingerprinting was conducted.

Pedestrian injured

A YOUNG pedestrian was injured after stepping out in front of car in parking lot at Saltwater Café, Bermagui at 10.30am Thursday.

The ambulance attended but the parents chose to drive their child to hospital for a check.

Buggy stolen

A GOLF buggy worth $1000 was stolen from the Narooma course facilities between Thursday, January 8 and last Tuesday.

Oyster theft

POLICE are hoping someone saw who stole several floating baskets of oysters from leases on Black Bream Bay between 2pm Friday, January 9 and last Sunday morning.

Mystery break

A HOLIDAY cottage at Mystery Bay that was unlocked was broken into between 8.30pm and 11.30pm Thursday with an iPad, cash and phone stolen.

Malicious damage

LETTERBOXES were ripped out last Monday while on Tuesday, January 9 a pool cover was damaged at Narooma at an empty beer bottle found floating.

Fence section

A 5-metre section of fence on the north-western boundary of the Quaama school was cut out and stolen between December 19 and January 9.

Plant found

A 37-year-old Narooma man was charged with cultivating a prohibited plant when a single cannabis plant was located on his balcony.

Playground abuse

A GROUP of youths were moved on after being seen abusing playground equipment at the Narooma visitor centre 8pm Sunday.

Internet scam

POLICE urge locals to use recognised Internet payment systems after a Narooma local reported losing money on deal gone wrong.

Disabled spot

AN able-bodied driver was fined for parking in a disabled parking spot at the Narooma Plaza last Tuesday.

If you have any leads, call Narooma police on 4476 2044 or Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000.

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Dairy exhibits shine at Tatura

Erika Quinn from Cohuna in Victoria exhibits Beclah Park Dempsey Nola to win grand champion heifer at the ABS Australia/Ridley All Breeds National Youth Show.Young northern Victorian cattle handler Erika Quinn took out the coveted International Dairy Week grand champion heifer this week with an outstanding Holstein female.
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Erika, of Cohuna, emerged from 230 entries in the ABS Australia/Ridley All Breeds National Youth Show to win the title at the Tatura showgrounds on Monday, January 19.

Judge, Matt Templeton, Coomboona Holsteins, Toolamba, Vic, described the Lirr Drew Dempsey daughter, Beclah Park Dempsey Nola, as exhibiting dairy strength, frame and carrying a beautiful udder.

The July-drop 2012 heifer was from the dam High Green Bolton Noni and owned by Gorbro Holsteins, Cohuna.

Mr Templeton awarded the heifer senior champion in-milk before giving her the nod as grand champion.

Georgia Sieben, 12, of Torumbarry, Vic, showed the

Toc-Farm Goldsun sired in-milk Holstein heifer Brindabella Gold Sun B Jess to senior champion

in-milk heifer (junior leader and reserve grand champion heifer on behalf of owners, S & J Sieben, Torumbarry.

Brock Neal, Cooriemungle, showed a Jersey heifer, Bushlea

Gov Favourite 2, on behalf of Bushlea Farms, Koonawarra, to reserve senior champion in-milk heifer (senior leader) and the Honorable Mention grand champion heifer.

Zack Redpath led Bushlea Farm’s Jersey heifer Bushlea Tbone Ferleaf 2 to honourable mention senior champion in-milk (senior leader).

Brady Hore, Leitchville, showed Miami Tequila Cowslip 4660-ET on behalf of the Philmar Dairy Company, Tocumwal, to reserve senior champion in-milk heifer (junior leader).

Ellie Hourigan, Milawa, Victoria, showed Darrynvale Marks Bonnie 15 from her family’s Darrynvale Jersey stud to an honourable mention senior champion in-milk heifer.

Zoe Hayes, Girgarre, Victoria, was named as the most successful youth handler of the show.

She showed Llandovery Blush’s Jinny to junior champion heifer (senior leader) while the reserve went to Shanae Fisher, Shepparton, with Red Field Doorman Bambi 3186-ET.

Mitchell Atkins, won junior champion heifer (junior leader) with Avonlea Windbrook Cinnamon and Jett Easterbrook, Tatura, was in reserve with Whyndell H G Bonny.

Erika Quinn has a strong record at IDW, winning the junior champion heifer (senior leader) last year with Gorbro Stanleycup Kassie-ET, but this year was her first on the halter of a grand champion.

The Year 12 student at Cohuna Secondary College worked for four weeks preparing the heifer at Gorbro Holsteins for this year’s event.

Erika’s family farm is expanding from 500 to 600 cows with the installation of a new dairy, and she plans to forge a career in the industry.

“I didn’t know what to expect today and was overwhelmed to win,’’ she said.

ABS Australia and New Zealand general manager James Smallwood said the company had been committed to supporting the youth show since the late 1990s.

“It has a lot of synergies with genetics around investing in the future and we are trying to make sure our involvement encourages young people with a passion for animal performance and genetic improvement into the industry,’’ Mr Smallwood said.

“For us at ABS, the youth show is a nice fit for what we do, and it’s one way we can give back to the industry which supports us.’’

As one of the biggest cattle shows in the southern hemisphere, International Dairy Week drew 1119 entries from more than 180 Australian breeders this year.

A panel of national and international judges assessed cattle across six national breed shows, while visitors enjoyed a full program of international guest speakers, on-property tours, trade displays and three breed sales.

All cattle judging was live streamed through the internet.

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Wimmera thefts soar by 51 per cent

THEFTS in the Wimmera have soared as professional and opportunistic thieves take advantage of lax security.
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Police have warned people to secure their property after crime statistics revealed a 51 per cent increase in thefts.

In the Horsham and Northern Grampians police service areas there were 160 thefts in the 2013-14 financial year.

There have been 243 so far this financial year – just sixandahalf months into the year.

Northern Grampians Inspector Ian Lindsay said the numbers represented a continual increase.

He said they could be reduced if people were proactive.

‘‘By leaving items in public view without restraints or chains encourages either professional or opportunistic thieves,’’ he said.

‘‘We’ve got vehicles being left unlocked, windows down at carparks, in main streets and at home.

‘‘Our information is telling us the most significant items being stolen are trailers, caravans, power tools and equipment such as chainsaws.’’

Mr Lindsay said personal items such as mobile phones, laptops, iPads and wallets were also being stolen.

He said items that could be easily sold or traded were popular among thieves.

Mr Lindsay said thefts were occurring in public spaces, residential areas and rural properties across the region.

He said police had achieved some significant results in catching offenders, but people needed to reduce opportunities for thieves.

‘‘While we’ve processed offenders, we’re trying to stop the likelihood of a continuing pattern,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s about people taking ownership for their property. It’s about protection, reporting and recording and making fewer opportunities for either professional or opportunistic thieves.’’

Mr Lindsay said police possessed a significant amount of stolen property, which had been abandoned or recovered through search warrants.

‘‘Without an identifying description it makes it difficult to return or match it to the rightful owner,’’ he said.

Mr Lindsay said photographs, recording serial and model numbers and engravings were some of the ways people could assist police to identify the owners of recovered items.

He warned a rise in thefts could drive up insurance premiums.

‘‘It’s a burden not only on victims and the misappropriation of property, it’s also a burden on the insurance industry and the community in general,’’ he said.

Mr Lindsay encouraged anyone who had property stolen to report it to their nearest police station or call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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Foxes now a declared pest in NSW

Fox numbers are on the rise in the bush, while on the urban fringe they are seen as potential pets and are being rescued.
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Coming from a Yass sheep grazing family, NSW Primary Industries Minister Katrina Hodgkinson has declared foxes a pest, issuing a pest control order which consequently makes them a higher priority for Local Land Services control.

Land Services can now take action against landholders who are not controlling fox numbers on their property.

“The Local Land Services (European Red Fox) Pest Control Order 2014 will be gazetted, meaning foxes are now a declared pest species in this State,” Ms Hodgkinson said.

“The introduction of the pest control order brings NSW into line with all other States in Australia in ensuring that foxes must be controlled by landholders on their properties.

“Importantly, the pest control order will allow for additional options for coordinated control, meaning Local Land Services can more effectively target foxes in localised campaigns.

This will also means no newly acquired foxes will be allowed to be kept in captivity, and those people that currently keep foxes in captivity will be required to apply for a permit from Local Land Services.

“Foxes are not companion animals – this pest control order sends the clear message that they are pests, not pets,” she continued.

Ms Hodgkinson said the draft pest control order was released for public comment in October, with 1785 submissions received, the majority of which were in favour.

“All issues raised in the submissions were carefully considered before a final decision was reached,” Ms Hodgkinson said.

“It is clear that this pest control order will benefit landholders and the wider community by improving the coordinated control of this invasive predator.

“With the total annual cost of foxes to Australia’s environment and economy estimated to be $227.5 million, the pest control order will assist in the coordination of successful community-wide fox control programs.

“Foxes cause extensive damage for livestock producers, with studies showing lamb losses to fox predation can be as high as 30 per cent.”

The pest control order can be viewed at

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