July 27, 2016
by Anne Miller
Fly ash removal contractor Coal Reuse could be facing large fines for storing coal combustion products from the Tarong power stations without the proper approvals.
ABC reporter Isobel Roe reported on Tuesday morning she had seen a copy of a letter from the Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection to Coal Reuse asking why 1400 tonnes of waste material from the power stations were being stored in industrial sheds at Gympie and in the Brisbane suburb of Pinkenba “with no obvious destination”.
The letter was seeking a response as to why Coal Reuse should not be fined.
According to the ABC report, Coal Reuse has no permit to store the coal combustion products at these two sheds, risking a maximum fine of up to $7 million.
The ABC reports referred to “fly ash” and “coal dust” interchangeably, however a statement from Stanwell later in the day confirmed the coal waste product being stored was actually cenospheres, a fine silica used in paints, sealants and mortars.
Envirospheres, a Sydney-based company which operates a facility in Nanango, formerly had the contract to remove cenospheres from the Stanwell power stations but this was taken over by Coal Reuse almost exactly two years ago.
In 2014, Stanwell Corporation struck a 10-year deal giving Coal Reuse the exclusive right to remove coal combustion products ie bottom ash, fly ash, pond ash and cenospheres, from the Tarong and Tarong North power stations.
The deal has been plagued with troubles from the start, with Coal Reuse initially not being able to gain access to the fly ash loading plant at Tarong Power Station due to a commercial wrangle with another contractor.
Coal Reuse used a mobile extraction and loading system until it could build a new extraction and loading facility.
In May this year, an application was lodged by creditors in the Supreme Court in Brisbane to wind up Coal Reuse due to alleged unpaid debts.
This was listed again in the Brisbane Supreme Court on Monday and has now been adjourned for a Directions Application on September 5.
Last month, a spokesman from the DEHP confirmed to southburnett.com.au the department had begun an investigation into a complaint about 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).”
This appears to be the complaint that the ABC reporter as well as Lockyer MP Ian Rickuss were referring to in media reports on Tuesday.