Hazelwood power station pit rehab plan risks creating giant lake that’s unsafe for swimming


A proposal to flood the previous Hazelwood coal mine dangers creating an enormous lake with deteriorating water high quality that’s unsuitable for swimming inside a long time, based on inner recommendation to the federal Setting Division.

Following closure of the Latrobe Valley’s closely polluting Hazelwood coal-fired energy station in 2017, world vitality large Engie proposed a rehabilitation challenge for the 4000-hectare website.

Engie has proposed turning the former coal mine at Hazelwood power station into a large “pit lake”.

Engie has proposed turning the previous coal mine at Hazelwood energy station into a big “pit lake”.Credit score: Jason South

It features a plan to show the large open-cut mine into a man-made “pit lake” between 70 and 130 metres deep. The lake would take as much as twenty years to fill and require nearly double the quantity of water Melbourne consumes in a 12 months.

After environmental advocates known as for higher scrutiny, the federal authorities in February confirmed it might take a look at the proposal underneath the Setting Safety and Biodiversity Conservation Act.

The proposal’s different dangers embody “severe or irreversible environmental injury” to the downstream Ramsar-listed Gippsland Lakes, based on recommendation not too long ago offered to the Division of Local weather Change, Vitality, the Setting and Water by its Workplace of Water Science. Ramsar wetlands preserve uncommon or distinctive species.

There’s additionally a danger of inadequate flows from the Latrobe River to fulfill the large volumes of water required to fill the lake, based on the Workplace of Water Science, which offered this recommendation to the Setting Division’s assistant secretary, Kim Farrant.

Hazelwood energy station’s chimneys collapse throughout demolition in 2017.Credit score: Joe Armao

“I thought-about recommendation from OWS, which said that the water high quality within the proposed lake will deteriorate over time and be unsuitable for main, and doubtlessly secondary, contact in roughly 50 years attributable to interplay with the mine void partitions,” Farrant wrote in a letter outlining her causes for federal scrutiny of the choice.

Major contact normally means leisure or different water use in which there’s extended human contact with water, whereas secondary contact is direct contact with out ingestion.

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