June 7, 2016
The State Government is investigating claims fly ash from the Tarong and Tarong North power stations is not being used in accordance with relevant approvals.
A spokesman from the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection confirmed on Tuesday the department had recently begun an investigation into a “waste product” from the power stations.
“No potential adverse environmental impact or environmental nuisance has been identified in relation to the complaint received,” the spokesman said.
“The allegation relates to removal of waste material by a contractor, not the operator of the power stations (ie. not Stanwell).”
The investigation coincides with an application to wind up fly ash removal contractor Coal Reuse lodged in the Supreme Court by sub-contractors who claim they are owed thousands of dollars by the company.
A Stanwell spokesman said Coal Reuse had been appointed to manage the removal of ash products from the Tarong power stations from August 1, 2014, following a competitive tender process.
“By awarding the contract, Stanwell consolidated numerous off-take arrangements and created an opportunity to reduce the amount of ash stored onsite, through the establishment of new ash markets,” the Stanwell spokesman said.
“Following a winding up application that was lodged in the Supreme Court on May 9, 2016, Stanwell understands that Coal Reuse is in discussions with sub-contractors to resolve this claim by the end of June 2016.
“Coal Reuse continues to meet its contractual obligations to Stanwell.
“Prior to the contract commencing, Coal Reuse notified the ACCC of its arrangement with Stanwell to address competition concerns.
“Coal Reuse continues to remove ash products from Stanwell sites and is currently installing new ash pumping infrastructure at the Tarong site.
“Stanwell takes its environmental responsibilities very seriously and adopts a proactive approach of self-reporting to ensure its generation and mining sites operate to the highest possible environmental standards.”
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An ABC News report about Coal Reuse, published on an ABC website on Monday, referred to Stanwell being fined for breaches of environmental standards.
Both the Department and Stanwell emphasised on Tuesday these two penalty infringement notices were not linked to fly ash.
“Over the past two years, Stanwell has received two penalty infringement notices,” the Stanwell spokesman said.
“One in relation to emissions at Tarong Power Station in April 2014 and the other in response to saline water levels at Meandu Mine in late 2015.
“It is important to note that there have been no releases of water with elevated salinity levels downstream, and all water releases from the site have remained within our Environmental Authority limits.”
The DEHP spokesman concurred, saying TN Power Pty Ltd (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Stanwell Corporation) was fined $2200 in relation to failing to calibrate monitoring equipment.
In February 2015, TEC Coal Pty Ltd (another wholly-owned Stanwell subsidiary) was fined $11,385 for contravening a condition of its environmental authority in relation to releasing mine-affected water.