IGas will be allowed to continue pumping waste, despite claims it will turn the national park into a toxic waste dump. The company, which is also trying to set up fracking wells, has been granted an environmental permit to reinject radioactive water produced at oil and gas sites back into the South Downs. IGas said it will stop bringing waste from other sites to dump in the South Downs while talks continue with the national park authority.
The consent, granted by the Environment Agency (EA), allows IGas to inject up to 80m3 per day – more than 17,500 imperial gallons. If IGas injected the maximum every day, there would be enough liquid to fill an Olympic swimming pool in about a month. The permit allows IGas to dispose of formation or produced water that comes to the surface along with gas during oil extraction.
At Singleton, it could contain naturally occurring radioactive material, known as NORM. Disposal of formation water is a major cost for the oil and gas industry and often involves regular and frequent tanker journeys to waste facilities.