‘Radioactive water disposal plan would turn national park site into toxic dump’ – campaign group

Singleton 2 IGas

IGas Singleton oil site in West Sussex. Photo: IGas

IGas should not be allowed to dispose of radioactive wastewater in a well at its Singleton oil site in the South Downs, campaigners have argued.

The company has applied for an environmental permit to continue reinjecting fluid from sites across southern England. The waste contains naturally-occurring radioactive material, known as NORM.

The Weald Action Group has objected to IGas’s application, accusing the company of not providing enough information and underestimating risks.

In its response to the Environment Agency, the group said:

“Our National Parks should not be allowed to become a toxic dumping ground for radioactive waste.”

A member of the group, Emily Mott, said:

“The onshore oil and gas industry has been allowed to carry on its dirty business for far too long.

“IGas should not be permitted to continue to dump tonnes of toxic fracking wastewater down its wells in this vulnerable chalk aquifer. Our water is the best in England and is a precious commodity that should be protected.”

The application is part of an exercise to bring older oil and gas sites under environmental regulations first introduced in 2013.

IGas has been reinjecting wastewater at Singleton in West Sussex from the site itself and from other oil and gas operations across the region, including the Holybourne oil storage facility in Hampshire.

The company is seeking permission to reinject up to 17,000m3 of produced water a year, with a monthly limit of 2,500m3.

Weald Action Group said the proposal would:

  • Threaten the already vulnerable groundwater aquifer
  • Risk inducing earthquakes in a faulted and seismic-sensitive area

‘Underestimated risk to groundwater’

Weald Action Group described the local chalk aquifer as one of the most important groundwater reservoirs in the UK

The Singleton site is in a groundwater Source Protection Zone 3 for the Lavant public water supply – an area which the Environment Agency has said could be affected by deep drilling.

The site is also above the chalk formation, which is designated as a Principal Aquifer. These are rocks that store large amounts of water and support water supply and the base flow of larger rivers.

The group said:

“The risks to our aquifer are underestimated by IGas and that any risk, however small, should be avoided, given the significance of the aquifer under Singleton Forest.

“Our groundwater catchment is vulnerable and it is our duty to support, conserve and protect this fragile groundwater ecosystem and to promote catchment management approaches that will ensure its purity and longevity.”

The waste could include brine, salts of heavy metals and radioactive materials, the group said.

It called for a reassessment of the vulnerability and status of the aquifer.

It also urged the Environment Agency to apply guidance for hydraulic fracturing to Singleton. This would mean flowback fluid could not be disposed by reinjection into any geological formation.

The South Downs National Park Authority [SDNPA] has also commented on the site’s sensitivity for local groundwater:

“The SDNPA would like to draw to your [the Environment Agency’s] attention that this is a sensitive site.

“It is located within a National Park and within the groundwater Source Protection Zone 3 (SPZ3) for the Lavant public water supply and above the Chalk Formation which is designated as a Principal Aquifer.”

‘Earthquake threat’

The group said the Singleton site north of Chichester is in a seismic zone and is heavily faulted:

 “The fractured carbonate geology at Singleton is particularly ill suited to subsurface disposal of waste.”

Underground wastewater injection can raise pressure on fault lines, reducing the faults’ natural friction and triggering earthquakes, the group said. Seismic activity risks affecting well integrity and could result in groundwater pollution, it added.

IGas had not provided a detailed up-to-date seismic study mapping the faulting in the area of the area, the group said. It called for “a proper assessment of the local stress fields”.

Regulatory loopholes

Weald Action Group criticised the regulation of oil and gas sites in the region:

“There is a lack of a joined up approach to monitoring and regulation, permitting and guidance regarding contaminated flowback and produced fluids generated in conventional/unconventional oil sites in the Southeast of England.”

It blamed this on “erroneous and inconsistent definition of the terms used for conventional and unconventional operations. It also said there was “a lack of clarity in regulatory guidance” on advanced well stimulation technologies.

Regulators have “broad discretion” to determine when restrictions and additional requirements are imposed “without reference to clear parameters”, the group said.

“This in turn, creates loopholes, leaving our environment and communities at risk”.

A public consultation on the application ends tomorrow (6 February 2020)

Weald Action Group objection to Singleton permit application (pdf)

Link to permit application documents

Updated with quote from South Downs National Park Authority

70 replies »

  1. Oh dear, Jack-large Green, little green, large Blue, or little blue-you have really lost the plot!!

    Ermm, how would DoD know who sits at a particular lap top, at a particular time?

    (Mind you, if there is only one, then the one has a real problem with memory!)

    If you want to keep on digging please feel free, but it may be that you have already demonstrated more than is desirable in order to maintain even a small degree of credibility.

    But, to let you know some glad tidings that you may otherwise miss:

    “Four of the six nominated champion Magnolia campbelli in Cornwall’s Great Gardens are already in flower despite the recent high winds. We are eagerly waiting for the final two campbellii to reach 50 blooms and Cornwalls Spring Story to announce that spring has arrived in England.”

    (Maybe members of the NT will be interested? You know those members who are members to get a discount to go and see such things, rather than because they have ANY interest or opinion regarding how the NT management behave!)

    Well, let’s hope it is not a repeat of 1916, Jack. That would upset the Cornish tourist industry, but would also shut up the climate change keyboard warriors for a few hours. I will leave you to DYOR reference the winter in 1916. Have fun.

  2. MARTIN,

    Let Jack help you out with this very complicated and difficult problem you have.

    How would Drill Or Drop ( DOD ) know how many Jackthelads were operating on this site you ask.

    ( 1 ) They will have access to the DOD forum members registered page.

    ( 2 ) IP address

  3. Yes, Jack.

    But, that does NOT answer the point I made. Surprise, surprise.

    That is your trademark, so hardly surprising.

    So, keep on posting such guff, and assume someone may be fooled. Except, in this instance, if they have the knowledge to use a laptop, or desktop, they will ALL see the silliness of your post and how it correlates with your tendency to post something in isolation and not connected to reality.

    Being helpful again. My wife, and others, often use my E-mail details if they wish to add their thread to a particular subject, and see that easier than logging into their own. With my permission, of course, and not applied to DoD, but others have been known to do something similar on DoD.

    Don’t let it worry you Jack. I would actually prefer to think of you as one individual who has difficulty remembering what they have previously posted, or been informed about. Perhaps, you could help me out by keeping a bit more focus and consistency in those respects?

    • MARTIN

      PLEASE no more , my sides are splitting .

      Riddles and fantasy, are you in competition with J.K Rowling ????? Your ability to dream up new situations is worthy of an Oscar.

      Getting back to reality, I would kindly ask that in plain English, you tell me what on Earth you want Jack to reply to.

      ALSO, I would kindly ask that the forum readers , please take the time to read MARTINS, and MY previous posts on this page. Although MARTINS are low in quality and substance, they are rich in entertainment value.

  4. Getting back to reality, I did not request you to reply!!

    Seems that you need to manufacture my posts in order to have a debate.

    If you want a debate with yourself, then that explains a great deal.

    (My last post was simply showing how your previous post was a load of guff, or alternatively-a fantasy put forward as reality. Now, you may wish to attempt to deflect from that but maybe best not to encourage other forum readers to check that out? Although, most will already be aware.)

    Anyway, I will leave you to plot some new fantasy whilst I secure my fence from Dennis.

    • MARTIN ,

      Please then let’s get back to reality and away from your endless diversionary tactics and talk about the matters that count.

      Mainly that Fracking is a toxic , enviournmentaly damaging, climate changing , debt ridden Ponzi scheme .

      Where do you want to start ?????

  5. Regarding possible seismic activity resulting from this process, I live 4.4 road miles away from the Cuadrilla Preston New Road test fracking site near Blackpool in Lancashire.
    Cuadrilla’s principal propaganda mouthpiece Francis Egan swore blind on numerous occasions that nearby residents would not be subject to felt seismicity.
    He lied big time and the fracking industry is now halted nationwide!
    Please refer to the relevant Drill or Drop article on the British Geological Survey statistics available via What do they Know.

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