Origin hits back at "black rain" claim

THERE is no evidence that airborne residue showering the Queensland town of Tara is from CSG operations, according to Origin Energy.

Bianca Bartucciotto

The company hit back at claims it was causing a number of health concerns in the town.

More than 18,000 people have signed a petition on change.org to stop production at Ironbark, which allegedly caused health problems in residents of the rural town after “black rain” fell.

In a video posted on the website, Tara resident Steve Ansford said his two children suffered major health issues since the “black rain” started falling.

A spokesman for Origin Energy told EnergyNews residue samples taken from the town were not from CSG operations.

“Residue samples from the cars, as well as similar substances on leaves and bark on the ground in the vicinity of the cars were collected and test results revealed the presence of lerps – a shiny, wet-looking substance made up of crystallized sugars and amino acids produced by insects attacking the tree,” he said.

“Lerp insects can produce large amounts of this residue, which has been documented to foul surfaces beneath trees such as rooftops and cars.

“Additional soil testing was undertaken around the cars and found to be normal.

“In fact, the soil tested meets the requirements of the National Environmental Protection Measure health based guidelines applied to soils used to grow vegetables or for outdoor playing areas in childcare centres or kindergartens.

“We have spoken with residents about these findings.”

The spokesman pointed out the Ironbark infrastructure was 1500m from the nearest resident, while the petition on change.org said it was a few hundred metres away.