Shared asbestos cell close

Michelle Slater

The long-running saga over where EnergyBrix will dispose of its asbestos when the old Morwell Power Station is demolished could be finalised towards the end of next week.

EnergyBrix remediation general manager Barry Dungey said commercial agreements were being drawn up between EBAC and Hazelwood Power Station with the backing of the Environment Protection Authority.

The agreement would mean EBAC would store about 7000 cubic metres of asbestos in a shared cell in an old ash pond at Hazelwood.

Mr Dungey said he believed this was the best outcome after 18 months of delays with EnergyBrix’s scheduled demolition start date on January 9.

“I’m hoping to have everything finalised by the end of next week. I think this is the best outcome for everyone,” Mr Dungey said.

“It’s a still a work-in-progress – ourselves, Hazelwood and the EPA are working together to facilitate an outcome.”

Mr Dungey said the Hazelwood site would be modified to accommodate the extra material coming out of EnergyBrix and the cell will be fully remediated once finished.

He said all trucks leaving EnergyBrix would be EPA-approved with trained drivers so loose fibres did not escape.

The shared cell option was originally rejected by the EPA as Hazelwood was only approved to dispose of its own material onsite and not take outside material.

A second option for EBAC to store asbestos on its own site was approved by the EPA but rejected by Latrobe City Council, citing fears about community safety so close to town.

“I think Hazelwood is the best solution. We attempted nearly two years ago to arrive at this point,” Mr Dungey said.

“This needed the agreement of ENGIE, EBAC and the EPA to make it work and we could not get the three parties to agree and this is why we went for the on-site option.”

Mr Dungey described the process as “frustrating”, having spent significant amounts of time and money designing an on-site cell and holding public consultations sessions.

“I’m glad we’ve come back to where we first started, and I’m glad we can make this original solution work.”