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Exploratory drilling at Woodburn Forest

24 February 2016 15:10

NI Water has agreed to lease a small portion of Woodburn Forest near Carrickfergus for the drilling of an exploratory oil well.  This work is being undertaken by an independent company, Infrastrata, under a licence awarded by the Department of Enterprise Trade and Investment (DETI).  All work is subject to the approval and agreement of the planning authorities, DETI and Forest Service.  Infrastrata cannot drill a permanent well without obtaining planning permission.

 

NI Water is aware of the public concern regarding the proposed oil exploration work at Woodburn Forest and has included a clause in the Agreement with Infrastrata that prohibits using the technique known as hydraulic fracturing (fracking), both now and in the future.

 

The safeguarding of water quality is of primary importance to NI Water, and the company is satisfied that the proposed work will have no detrimental impact upon the impounding reservoir or the public water supply.  NIEA and DETI are responsible for monitoring the work of Infrastrata and their impact on the wider environment.

 

 

NI Water is very clear that the proposed oil exploration work at Woodburn Forest will not include the use of the technique known as hydraulic fracturing (fracking), both now and in the future.

The safeguarding of water quality is of primary importance to NI Water, and the company is satisfied that the proposed work will have no detrimental impact upon the impounding reservoir or the public water supply.  NIEA and DETI are responsible for monitoring the work of Infrastrata and their impact on the wider environment.

The well site has been designed to ensure that all potential discharges from the site are contained and no discharges, either controlled or uncontrolled, will occur from the site into the catchment. The site has been designed as ‘zero discharge’ which means there will be no discharge from the site to local watercourses and therefore no adverse impact on the catchment.  This is done by using a geosynthetic clay layer to prevent any liquids on site from soaking into the ground below.

Bunds will prevent any flow off the site and ditches are used to contain rainwater, with any surplus water then tankered away.

The reservoirs within the Dorisland catchment are all surface fed with no ground water source feeding into them.

If a spill into the catchment was to occur and enter surface watercourses to any of the Woodburn Reservoirs then NI Water has the ability to isolate the reservoir and cease abstraction from the reservoir. Water supply would be maintained through abstraction from the other impounding reservoirs within the Dorisland Catchment area.  

Water quality testing is undertaken by NI Water to ensure that monitoring is carried out according to risk assessment as required by the Drinking Water Regulations.

 

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