Treated water from ash spill released to Morwell creek


Minister criticises GDF SUEZ

TREATED water from an ash spill at Hazelwood Power Station last week has been released into Bennetts Creek, just outside Morwell.

Energy Brix report about two megalitres of treated waste water has been pumped out of its settling pond in compliance with its Environment Protection Authority licence.

The EPA said no concerns have been identified for downstream users and water authorities have been advised.

The water is a mixture of Energy Brix waste water and some of the water from last Tuesdays 40,000 litre coal spill from Hazelwood Power Station’s ashing system.

In a statement, EPA Gippsland manager Emily Sanders said the main treatment of the waste water in the pond settled out sediments such as coal or briquette dust.

The pH of the waste water was also checked to ensure compliance with the EPA licence.

“EPA has also taken samples of the waste water as part of its investigation into the spill from the Hazelwood Power Station to determine whether there has been any breach of GDF Suez’s EPA licence,” Ms Sanders said.

On Friday, GDF SUEZ spokesman Trevor Rowe told The Express the company was cooperating fully with the EPA and its investigation.

Mr Rowe said it was a minor spill from an ash pond and saline water had been found at the neighbouring Energy Brix site.

“It’s salty water that has gone into a holding area and has been captured in the holding area at the Energy Brix site. It didn’t get into any waterways or public areas,” Mr Rowe said.

Environment, Climate Change and Water Minister Lisa Neville had criticised the company for taking two days to report the incident to the environmental authority.

The EPA said it would be addressing the issue of reporting the incident two days later as part of its investigation.