THE State Government and coal seam gas company Metgasco are yet to agree on a plan for disposal of wastewater produced by gas extraction operations.
On September 11 the company was offered a licence to produce gas from an area near Casino and says the plan is being revised for submission for approval.
It is understood the plan would apply to exploration, but separate requirements for disposal of water in the production phase would be part of the conditions.
Resources Minister Chris Hartcher yesterday said details of conditions could not be released as Metgasco had not yet accepted the licence offer.
"Our underlying philosophy for water handling is to beneficially re-use the water where possible and practical," Metgasco chief Peter Henderson said. "We are looking at a number of options that do not require treatment, as well as those that do."
Mr Henderson said options included reverse osmosis and "vapour compression evaporation".
But that failed to satisfy opponents who said the plan should have been finalised before the company was offered a production licence. Metgasco was directed by the government to produce the plan on April 27.
On June 18, the government also directed the company to draw down levels in its wastewater holding ponds after it found the company failed to provide adequate "freeboard".
"It is unacceptable the government has gone ahead and granted a production lease without any evidence Metgasco's failings have been adequately addressed," Lock The Gate Northern Rivers spokeswoman Boudicca Cerese said.