GPS Location: 30°29’58.84”S 149°37’45.97”E
UTS: 751783.65 m E 6622507.11 m S
Newell Highway turn west into Old Mill Road (some maps refer to this as Dog Proof Fence Road), approximately 24km south of Narrabri. Leewood is on your right on private property owned by Santos. Major infrastructure, not highly visible from public land, includes several large holding ponds, a reverse osmosis water treatment plant and an area for irrigation.
A short drive past the first gate, will bring you to the main gate, the scene of many protests and arrests. A walking track between the two gates follows the NSW heritage listed Dog Proof Fence, constructed by landowners to keep their sheep safe from dingoes living in the forest.
A Santos vehicle may follow you along this road or from inside the fence. If you stop and the driver can see your vehicle’s registration, it may be noted. If you step out of your car you may be photographed or filmed. Old Mill Road is a public road and all around, except the fenced area, is the Pilliga Forest, so you are not trespassing.
Just north of Old Mill Road on the Newell Highway you can pull over on the side of the highway. If you have good eyesight you may get an idea of the scale of this project. Two 300 mega litre ponds divided into two cells were completed by Santos in October 2014. Look for the banks of these huge lined ponds holding the salty water mixed with other chemicals brought to the surface before extracting the gas. This water sits in these ponds waiting to be treated by the new reverse osmosis plant. The disposal of this water and the remaining toxic sludge is of grave concern to protectors of the Great Artesian Basin. Sometimes it mysteriously disappears.
For information on coal seam gas extraction see Unconventional Gas