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Coal Seam Gas


Gloucester is awaiting the decision on whether AGL can start fracking 300m from family homes. AGL want to start fracking as soon as possible.

The following list the fines, breaches of license and investigations by the NSW EPA Environmental Protection Agency against coal seam gas company AGL in 2013:

 19 December 2013 Exceeding NOx limits Fined $1,500
 9 August 2013 1. failure to maintain and operate equipment;
2. failure to continuously monitor emissions; and
3. failure to meet proper sampling requirements to monitor concentrations of pollutants discharged.
Enforceable Undertaking to address licence non-compliances
AGL to pay $150,000 to environmental education and management project in the local area.
AGL also paid $10,000 for EPA’s investigation and legal costs.
AGL to bring the premises back into compliance with licence requirements.
 15 July 2013 Failing to report Air Emission Monitoring data Fined $1,000
 12 March 2013 Exceeding NOx emission limit from onsite gas compressor engines during September, November and December 2012 Fined $1,500 for breaching its licence conditions
 1 March 2013 Gas well flooded No Action

AGL fined for NOx exceedences

19 December 2013 The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has issued AGL operations in Camden with a fine of $1,500 and an official caution for exceeding air pollutant, oxides of nitrogen (NOx) concentrations limits on two occasions in August this year.

The EPA’s Chief Environmental Regulator, Mark Gifford said that AGL had self-reported the two incidents to the EPA.

“AGL holds an Environment Protection Licence (EPL) issued by the EPA for the Rosalind Park Gas Plant which forms part of the Camden Gas Scheme.

“AGL is required to continuously monitor emissions from its three gas compression engines. They are also required to publish emission data on a regular basis.

“Emissions at the Camden site are monitored by three onsite Continuous Emission Monitoring System (CEMS) units and routine independent stack testing.

“In August and September this year the EPA received two incident reports from AGL for breaches of NOx concentration limits.

“The first exceedence occurred on 4 August and the second on 13 August. AGL has told the EPA that they were only made aware of the 13 August exceedence on September 6 when they received their monthly report of the CEMS from the company that undertakes the monitoring.

“The EPA has investigated the incidents and has determined that AGL failed to maintain its equipment in a proper and efficient condition as required under the EPL.

“As soon as AGL became aware of the incidents, it reported them immediately to the EPA, investigated the causes of the incidents and took action including the shut-down of equipment.

“AGL has also adopted corrective actions aimed at preventing a recurrence including more frequent verification of monitoring systems used for compliance purposes and the automatic shutdown of a gas compression engine if it goes into fault.

“Whilst the exceedences were small and of short duration and did not cause a significant impact on the environment, the EPA takes all non-compliances seriously”, said Mr Gifford

All details of the AGL licence and non-compliances are published on the EPA public register, http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/prpoeo

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EPA investigating exceedences at AGL Camden plant

11 September 2013 - The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) is investigating potential emissions breaches from the AGL Rosalind Park site in August that were reported to the EPA yesterday.

The incidents relate to three minor exceedences of the nitrogen oxide concentration limits by 1mg, 5mg and 10mg per cubic metre, on August 13 2013 between 5am and 8am.

AGL has told the EPA that they were only made aware of the exceedences on September 6 when they received their monthly report of the Continuous Emissions Monitoring System from the off-site monitoring company.

While it does not appear that exceedences of this type would have resulted in any environmental or health concern, the EPA is very concerned about the AGL control systems which did not activate an alarm in place for immediate awareness of the issue by the company.

The EPA has directed AGL to provide a full written report on the exceedences within 7 days.

The EPA is also investigating a separate nitrogen oxide exceedence that was reported on August 5.
_________________________________________

AGL signs an Enforceable Undertaking to address licence non-compliances

9 August 2013 - The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has considered and agreed to a proposal from AGL for an Enforceable Undertaking (EU).

Investigations by the EPA indicated that AGL had not complied with several Environment Protection Licence (EPL) conditions in relation to the continuous monitoring of air emissions between 2009 to 2012.

The EPA’s Chief Environmental Regulator, Mark Gifford said the licence non-compliances were first reported to EPA by AGL in Mid 2012 when the EPA tightened laws which required companies to publicly report all monitoring data collected under an EPL.

The licence non-compliances relate to failure to maintain and operate equipment; failure to continuously monitor emissions; and failure to meet proper sampling requirements to monitor concentrations of pollutants discharged.

The EPA considers an EU is an appropriate enforcement response in this instance rather than prosecution because it will achieve an effective and long term resolution and more directly benefits the environment and community.

AGL holds an Environment Protection Licence issued by the EPA for the Rosalind Park Gas Plant which forms part of the Camden Gas Scheme.

AGL is required to continuously monitor and report on their emissions. Whilst full continuous monitoring for Nitrogen Oxides did not occur between 2009 and 2012, quarterly stack testing was conducted in accordance with the EPL. The quarterly results show compliance with the tight licence limits.

AGL has stated that the cause was due to oversight combined with a lack of understanding by staff. AGL has already implemented various measures to prevent a recurrence.

Whilst the AGL non-compliances with licence conditions did not cause a significant impact on the environment, it is vital that the community and government have accurate and reliable information about its emissions.

The EU is a public and legally binding written agreement to address poor conduct put forward by a Company to the regulator as an alternative to prosecution. The EU recognises that AGL has taken active responsibility for the offence and implemented all necessary measures to address licence breaches.

The EU contains a detailed description of the non-compliances that concerned the EPA, AGL’s acknowledgement of these and the actions taken to address the licence non-compliances. These actions include the installation of new air monitoring equipment, a detailed review of air monitoring requirements and changes to reporting and auditing systems.

The EU requires AGL to pay $150,000 to a “Love Your Lagoons” environmental education and management project in the local area that will be implemented by the University of Western Sydney.

AGL will also pay the EPA’s investigation and legal costs totalling $10,000.

These payments are over and above the costs to AGL to bring the premises back into compliance with licence requirements.

The environmental enhancement component of the EU was proposed by AGL and developed in consultation with the AGL Community Consultative Committee.

The EPA takes all non-compliances seriously and our regulatory decisions are guided by the principles outlined in the EPA Prosecution Guidelines.

A copy of the AGL EU can be viewed on the EPA Public Register at the following address http://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/resources/prpoeo/undertakingEPA0011.pdf

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AGL fined for failing to report Air Emission Monitoring data

15 July 2013 - The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has fined AGL $1,000 for failing to publish monitoring data under “community right to know” requirements of the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997.

The EPA’s Chief Environmental Regulator, Mark Gifford said the intent of these requirements is to improve the public’s access to information about the environmental performance of licensed facilities.

“AGL holds an Environment Protection Licence issued by the EPA for the Rosalind Park Gas Plant which forms part of the Camden Gas Scheme.”

“AGL is required to obtain and publish emission data from its three gas compression engines, from onsite Continuous Emission Monitoring System (CEMS) units and routine independent stack testing.

“When EPA reviewed the AGL website on 6 June 2013, the last CEMS data was for the month of January 2013. No CEMS data was published for the months of February, March and April 2013.

“The EPA requires a monthly summary of the CEMS data to be published on the company’s website within 14 days of the last data being obtained for that month. “

“Once notified, AGL immediately published the data. The data indicates that emissions were not above the limits permitted by its Environment Protection Licence.”

The EPA takes all non-compliances seriously and our regulatory decisions are guided by the principles outlined in the EPA Prosecution Guidelines.
___________________________________

AGL fined for breach of Licence

12 March 2013 - The NSW Environment Protection Authority has fined AGL $1,500 for breaching its licence conditions at its Rosalind Park Gas Treatment Plant after emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) were recorded above limits permitted by its Environment Protection Licence.

The EPA’s Chief Environmental Regulator, Mark Gifford said AGL holds an Environment Protection Licence issued by the EPA for the Rosalind Park Gas Treatment Plant which forms part of the Camden Gas Scheme.

“The licence requires that the concentration of nitrogen oxides that can be emitted from AGL’s gas compressor engines must not exceed 461 mg/m3 at any time (based on an hourly average).

“AGL recorded exceedances of the NOx emission limit from onsite gas compressor engines during September, November and December 2012. The highest hourly average reported for each month was 587 mg/m3 in September, 896 mg/m3 in November and 578mg/m3 in December.

“The EPA does not consider these exceedences caused significant harm to the surrounding community or environment.

“AGL self-reported the incidents to the EPA and the emission monitoring data, including the exceedances, were published on the AGL website as required by the EPA. AGL also investigated the cause of the exceedences and promptly fixed the equipment.”

The EPA takes all non-compliances seriously and our regulatory decisions are guided by the principles outlined in the EPA Prosecution Guidelines.

The EPA is separately investigating AGL at Camden for failing to continuously monitor NOx emissions from its gas compressor engines between 2009 and 2012. This licence breach was reported by AGL to the EPA in July 2012. The EPA’s regulatory response will be made public shortly when the process is complete.
_______________________________________

Menangle Park AGL coal seam gas well flooded after recent rains

1 March 2013 - The NSW Environment Protection Authority’s (EPAs) Chief Environmental Regulator, Mark Gifford, has confirmed that the AGL site at Menangle Park has been again been subjected to heavy rains but the community can be reassured that the flooding does not pose a risk to the environment.

“AGL advised the EPA of the flooding of one of its gas production wells at Menangle Park following heavy rainfall,” Mr Gifford said.

“AGL’s planning approval includes conditions which specifically address flooding due to the wells’ sensitive location, including the requirement for a Flood Management Plan.

“These site management measures require AGL to take precautions to prevent any environmental impacts and to secure the site to prior to flooding occurring.

“AGL's wells can be shut remotely and are designed to be safe even if submerged underwater.

“The EPA is confident that the AGL Menangle Park site was appropriately secured during flood events, and that no contaminants, including any stored chemicals, could have moved off the site.

“AGL has done the right thing by reporting the flooding to the EPA.

”The EPA will continue to ensure that AGL maintains the environmental performance of its Menangle site to a high standard.
______________________________________

In 2009/2010 the NSW government and the taxpayers were forced to cover a $100 million bill to clean up toxic waste at the former Australian Gas Light Company gasworks site in Barangaroo, Darling Harbour, Sydney city.

AGL Gasworks, 30-38 Hickson Road Millers Point Sydney

Contaminated Land Management Act 1997

Nature of contamination affecting the site:

The EPA believes that the site is contaminated with gasworks waste and particularly waste tar as a result of the previous use of the site as a gasworks plant.

The chemical composition of gasworks waste includes the following substances (“the contaminants”): polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs); benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylenes (BTEX); total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPHs); ammonia; phenol and cyanide.

According to state government memos obtained by the SMH, the chemicals have spread into Darling Harbour and to residential blocks and pose a ''serious risk of harm to human health''.

Jemena acquired assets of the former AGL from another entity after 2006, when the current AGL Energy Limited was formed as a separate company not involved in this dispute.
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