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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Tuesday, 24 June 2008
Does Coca Cola bottled water at Peats Ridge have a chook poo contamination problem in the future?
Mood:  not sure
Topic: health



As explained in our penultimate post we are a pro bono lawyer acting as an agent for a community objector to Coca Cola Amatil (CCA) bottled water extraction rates at Peats Ridge Springs/Mangrove Mountain, near Gosford on the NSW Central Coast.


What our review of the documentation has revealed based on CCA and state government's own documents is this from the affidavit of the community objector Neville Diamond sworn 13 June 2008:

Concerns flagged by the Dept of Agriculture in writing as far back as 2003 of nitrates from the chicken for meat farm production at the site next door and the potential for contamination of the bottled water product. Chicken farming as a business sector has intensified in parallel with the increased retail business of the bottled water industry. This doesn’t seem to be a very sensible combination for managing the risk to public health. In this respect I attach marked “M “ a letter from NSW Agriculture dated 4 December 2003:


"It is normal agricultural practice to use fertilisers containing nitrogen, any excess nitrogen not taken up by plants could leach into groundwater. Nitrates and nitrites in drinking water can be a health risk. Referral to the Central Coast Public Health Unit may be necessary." 

Further in this respect I attach marked “ AB “ a report of ERM consultants to CCA/Peats Ridge Springs dated  Sept 2004 at page 11:

If nitrate concentrations in on-site wells continue to increase despite this strategy, more significant measures would be considered in consultation with DIPNR, which may include (but not limited to):

·         Installation of additional production wells farther from the Azzopardi property boundary, which appears to be a significant source of elevated nitrate in groundwater,;




·         A decrease in the rate of groundwater abstraction to halt the advance of nitrate-impacted groundwater on site.


Further measures to address increasing groundwater contamination from offsite sources may be considered as required, and would involve consultation between PRS [CCA] and DIPRNR”

[And at p15]

“It should be noted that the commercial success of PRS [CCA] business is strongly dependent on compliance with the relevant water quality standards (ANZF, 1987), such that minimising the on-site encroachment of nitrate-impacted groundwater is a common objective of both PRS [CCA] and DIPNR.”

Similarly in the ERM report dated October 2003 attached marked “ AC “ states:

- “The ANZFA 1987 Food Standards Code – Standard 08 – Mineral Water criteria were not exceeded in any well on any sampling occasion;

- Nitrogen (as nitrate plus nitrite and total N) mean concentrations are higher in wells MB5, MB10 and MB11, positioned along the boundary with the Azzopardi poultry farm, compared to wells MB2 and MB7. This indicates that the poultry farm activities, particularly with respect to disposal of manure, may be impacting groundwater beneath the site. However, nitrogen concentrations do not appear to be increasing with  time, indicating that the groundwater system at the site is in steady-state (refer Annex A) [not included here]. Note though, that there is a trend evident in MB2, in which both the NOx and TN concentrations increase and then decrease. In the context of fractured groundwater system, this indicates either a one-off nitrogen pulse moving through the system or an intermittent nitrogen source, and


* Groundwater flow at the site is to the southwest and south-southwest with an average hydraulic gradient of 0.03 to 0.04.”

We will be submitting to the Land & Environment Court and the court of public opinion that an increase to permanent extraction of 66 megalitres a year raises a real question over wise public health policy of a water extraction for bottling next to expanding (uncaged) chicken farming nearby.  



But what has this to do with Climate change in the graphic above anyway? Well food production should be close to metropolitan markets to save on fossil fuel use. This strongly suggests Peats Ridge/Mangrove Mountain should have a priority for traditional agricultural use, not bottled water which essentially same water product is already transported by gravity fed pipe system.


Other articles here on SAM micro news service about Coca Cola at Peats Ridge/Mangrove Mountain here:

- 24 June 2008 Coca Cola's nominated, and court appointed expert 'blinks' twice on report deadline?



- 1 June 2008 Coca Cola Amatil bottled water legals: Ratepayers force reversal by Gosford Council so far



- 1 June 2008 Objecter seeks to be heard in Coca Cola bottled water case after driest May on record


21 May 2008 Coca Cola in Environment Court on 6 June over Mangrove Mtn bottled water extraction

Posted by editor at 7:15 AM NZT
Updated: Saturday, 28 June 2008 10:06 AM NZT

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