May 24, 2012
Construction of a $26 million diversionary channel to protect the Tarong power stations’ ash dam from flood damage is expected to begin in either April or May next year.
Tarong Environmental Manager Darryl Brooks told visitors to the Stanwell stations on Monday that Queensland’s severe weather last year had led to the urgent progressing of a new ash and ash water management strategy for the two power stations.
The Black Creek Dam overflowed for the first time in its life in January 2011 which caused erosion to the adjacent 250ha ash dam.
After extensive investigation of possible options, and in consultation with the environmental regulator and the South Burnett Regional Council, Stanwell decided a 3km floodwater diversion channel should be built from the Black Creek Dam catchment around the ash dam into Meandu Creek to minimise the risk of the Black Creek Dam overflowing again.
The channel will be 24m wide and designed to handle one-in-100 year rainfall events. It will have 14 “energy dissipation” structures to slow the water flow down before it enters Meandu Creek to minimise turbidity and sediment issues.
The preliminary design was finished in February and detailed plans should be available by August or September this year.
What Else Is Happening Behind The Fence?
About 50 invited guests – representatives of local community organisations, councils and the media – were invited “Behind The Fence” at Tarong Power Station for an update on Stanwell’s activities and plans for Tarong and Tarong North power stations.
Representatives from Stanwell shared some interesting facts and figures including:
- The decision to expand the Meandu coal mine instead of proceeding with the Kunioon option saved about $1 billion in capital investment; however Stanwell intends holding onto Kunioon as a strategic asset because there are few other coal resources of this size locally
- Stanwell hopes to get Ministerial approval for the new Mining Services Agreement for the Meandu mine by early next month and it will be finalised by June 30 (see Meandu Operator To Be Confirmed In June)
- A shutdown of Dragline No 2 from January 7 next year will run involve 227 on-site and 30 off-site contractors and run for about 108 days; local contractors will provide some engineering services and Kingaroy Kitchen has been engaged to provide meals for the shutdown crews
- Stanwell’s Trainee Operator Centre has nine current trainees, including four indigenous trainees; 47 of the trainees who have gone through the program have transferred to full-time positions
- 5.5 per cent of the Tarong workforce is indigenous, which compares well with an industry-wide average of 1.8 per cent
- Tarong North power station is the most efficient coal-fired power station in the country, but there are no plans at the moment to install a second power generation unit
- Unit 1 at Tarong power station produced power for the first time in December 1983 and was commissioned in May 1984; since then it has run for an amazing 222,000 hours
- The four units at Tarong power station have burned a total of 126 million tonnes of coal since they were commissioned; Tarong North power station has burned a total of 13 million tonnes of coal since 2003
- The Tarong ash dam was originally designed to have a 25-year life so other options are currently being investigated, including pumping ash via a pipeline to fill mining voids
- June 16 – Unit 4 overhaul at Tarong Power Station finishes
- August 1 – Applications open for the Tarong Community Partnership Fund
- August 24 – Applications close for the Tarong Community Partnership Fund
- October 5 – Unit 1 overhaul at Tarong Power Station commences
- November 30 – Unit 1 overhaul finishes
- January 7 – Dragline shutdown at Meandu Mine commences (approx 108 day shutdown program).
- May 10 – Unit 2 overhaul at Tarong Power Station commences
- June 14 – Unit 2 overhaul finishes
- October 12 – Tarong North overhaul commences
- October 26 – Tarong North overhaul finishes
- November 5 – Unit 3 overhaul at Tarong Power Station commences
- November 15 – Unit 3 overhaul finishes
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story said the diversionary channel would be 32km long; it is 3km long