Stop Eraring Power Station ash dump expansion
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Coal ash is a toxic by-product that contains an array of heavy metals such as lead, mercury, cadmium and selenium. These metals cause serious health-effects in cases of consumption or over-exposure in both humans and animals. Coal-ash is stored in bodies of water near coal-fired power stations to prevent it from becoming air-borne. Ash dump sites require long-term and sustained rehabilitation so that the risks to the environment and health are mitigated. (Hunter Community Environment Centre)
Origin Energy wants to expand the Eraring Power Station's ash dump by an additional 5,000,000 m³. The expansion includes 8 hectares of land previously mined for coal.
"A lengthy consultants' assessment of Eraring's plan ... notes “water appears to be flowing from the ash dam into the mine workings”, and that “artesian flow of mine water would be expected into several tributaries of Dora Creek” that feed into the lake." (https://www.smh.com.au/environment/conservation/major-hazards-ash-dam-expansion-over-old-coal-mine-gets-agency-tick-20181002-p50781.html?csp=b9c649256db4d92fcf2e26c47347da8
"Expected" consequences to the creek is NOT OKAY. The consultant's report noted that trace metals in groundwater beneath the dam "have, on occasion, been recorded in concentrations in excess" of drinking water standards."
"Flows from the proposed discharge point will enter existing wetlands prior to flowing into Lake Eraring and ending in Lake Macquarie, these wetlands are identified under the State Environmental Planning Policy (Coastal Management) 2018. The project does not involve physical development within the coastal environment however they have considered indirect impacts on the environment; altering natural flow in the form of additional water volume can cause problems and lead to a loss of biological and ecological function in aquatic ecosystems. The proponent notes the proposed diverted area of 20.7ha is much smaller than the wetland area of 90-100ha it will be flowing into.
Lake Eraring is surrounded by Endangered Ecological Communities such as saltmarsh and swamp oak rushland. Also communities of mangroves and seagrass species of Zostera and Halophila are present in Lake Eraring and in the vicinity of the cooling water outlet in Bonnels Bay." Alex Marshall (Ecosystems Project Officer, Lake Macquarie City Council.)
The possible environmental hazards are devastating. We must put the pressure and responsibility on Origin to ensure the continued health and safety of our community and environment.
Lake Macquarie council said it raised "no objection" to the proposal, the point of this petition is to provide an objection. We want the council to know there is community concern about the ash dump and it's expansion, and therefore we want the proposal thoroughly scrutinised.
The time of coal-fired power stations is over. It's time to move toward a sustainable and renewable future. The pressure should be on to accelerate this transition. More info at https://www.envirojustice.org.au/our-work/community/air-pollution/resources/coal-ash-dumps-and-community-health/
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