Monday 24th Sep, 2018

Coal company fined over a stormwater water release into the ocean

Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock

ABBOT Point Bulk Coal Pty Ltd has been fined for a stormwater release from its coal handling facility during Tropical Cyclone Debbie back in March.

The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection issued the company with a $12,190 penalty infringement notice (PIN) on July 20.

This followed the company breaching conditions of a temporary emissions licence (TEL) that was issued on March 27.

Abbot Point Bulk Coal was granted the TEL during Tropical Cyclone Debbie which allowed an elevated suspended solid limit (100 mg per litre) on stormwater releases during torrential rain.

However, the company advised EHP on April 6 a “non-compliance” with the TEL had occurred with a release of stormwater from the terminal containing suspended solids recorded at 806 mg a litre.

The stormwater was discharged into the surrounding marine waters.

The TEL contained “strict conditions” that, according to the EHP, “should have been adhered to in ensuring the environment was protected, especially during extreme weather events”.

“Temporary emissions licences and environmental authorities are not taken lightly by the department and there can be harsh penalties for companies that breach their approvals,” the EHP wrote.

According to the EHP, the stormwater did not enter the adjacent Caley Valley wetlands.

An EHP investigation into the wetlands is ongoing.

Abbot Point Bulk Coal has until August 17 to contest the PIN in court.

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