News | 1st Apr, 2013

Report details murky

1 April 2013
Louis Nelson, Latrobe Valley Express


THE "lack of analysis" in a scientific report used to bolster Yallourn power station's application to increase water discharge from its open cut mine has been criticised by an environmental engineering expert.

Power station operator EnergyAustralia had submitted a works approval application with the Environment Protection Agency to expand its water discharge allowance by more than 50 per cent, in anticipation of a gradual expansion of the mine's rain catchment area.

A supplementary report prepared by engineering and environment consultancy firm GHD, submitted as part of the application, found an immediate increase to the licence discharge was necessary to keep the mine operational, and a failure to do so would see mine storage ponds overflow.

However in response to GHD's report, Monash University senior lecturer in environmental engineering Dr Gavin Mudd found the advice lacking "on many fronts", including a failure to adequately monitor a range of heavy metal and salt levels within the discharge, and a failure to compare the water quality with conservation council guidelines

"They have absolutely glazed over so much of this; you would expect a hell of a lot more substance in a report for such a big discharge application, for this professional firm you would expect a much bigger evidence base," Dr Mudd told The Express.

Dr Mudd's criticisms were detailed in a formal objection to the works approval by Environment Victoria, in which campaigns director Mark Wakeham challenged previously made assertions by EnergyAustralia the application was not connected to the "catastrophic" collapse of the Morwell River Diversion into the open cut last June.

Mr Wakeham pointed to a line within the works approval application in which EnergyAustralia's senior environment manager stated the company was keen to progress the works approval "to align with the finalisation of the current s30A discharge licence for the Yallourn mine dewatering".


Source >

Read Environment Victoria's submission on Energy Australia's application here >