Bunnan bore owners can expect a letter from Santos over coming weeks.
Santos spokesperson Sam Crafter said despite delays in undertaking exploration and water testing in Bunnan due to several factors including concerns raised by the Bunnan community, Santos were now preparing for water bore testing in the region and would contact landholders shortly.
“We are keen to gather baseline data of water bores in the local area, well ahead of any activities and will be contacting landholders to see who is interested in participating, later this month,” Mr Crafter said.
“While water bore testing is not a regulatory requirement, we believe it is best practice to gauge the natural state of local bores before any activities and we find most landholders also want the information and choose to participate.
“Our water testing is usually done within a couple of months of exploration drilling starting but even though we are not expecting to start exploration activities for another six months we would like to get underway now to gather as much data as possible,” he said.
Mr Crafter said letters would be sent to residents with bores from Bunnan and surrounding districts with a follow up phone call to discuss the testing process.
“The testing is done by specialist independent water consultants, usually with a Santos water team member and the landowner observing.
“There are approximately 21 registered bores within a two kilometre radius of Bunnan and, with people’s consent, the testing is likely to take a couple of weeks,” Mr Crafter said.
As every bore is different with their own ‘fingerprint’, Mr Crafter said the water consultant would test the isotopes, water levels, salinity, naturally occurring metals, organic compounds, gases and nutrients found in the bores to gather baseline data and measure the natural state of community aquifers.
“We have been advised some farmers have been monitoring their bores for several years, if this is the case and it has been done to the scientific testing standards used by the independent water consultants, any additional history of local bores would be welcome.
“The results of individual bores can be shared with the rest of the community, but this is at the discretion of the individual landholders and we will respect the wishes of each participant,” Mr Crafter said.
Santos Community Committee - Upper Hunter independent chair, Mr David Ross said water bore testing had also been on the agenda at last month’s committee meeting.
“The committee recommended that Santos begin the testing as soon as possible and agreed the data would be valuable for local landholders and the broader community.
“While the drilling may not be scheduled for several months, the water bore testing can take place at any stage prior to the drilling,” Mr Ross said.