EnergyAustralia, one of Australia’s leading energy retailers, said today it was addressing the findings of an Environment Protection Authority (EPA) audit of its power generation assets in the Lithgow region of New South Wales.
The audit of the Wallerawang and Mt Piper power station sites was part of a routine compliance program by the EPA to check coal ash dams throughout New South Wales. The EPA did on-site inspections in November 2015, before publishing its findings in September.
Coal ash dams are used to store the particles and material left over from burning coal to generate electricity.
Malcolm Murphy, EnergyAustralia Head of Mt Piper, said the EPA had audited compliance against criteria including the transport and disposal of coal ash, water management, dust and storm water management, monitoring, response management plans, information recording and the maintenance of plant and equipment.
“The EPA did a thorough audit of how we manage coal ash at our Mt Piper and Wallerawang power stations and we’re pleased that overall it confirms both sites have high standards of environmental compliance and performance,” Malcolm said.
While the EPA assessed EnergyAustralia’s performance against nearly 100 criteria, it found 10 instances in which it had concerns about whether the company had fully complied with the terms of its environmental licences.
These were mainly to do with the administration of pollution incident response management plans for the sites (e.g. in relation to the recording of staff rosters) and certain procedures for sampling water quality.
“We take very seriously our responsibility to manage or avoid environmental impacts from our operations,” Malcolm said. “We are focused on continuously improving our environmental performance and welcome findings from the EPA that assist improvement.
“We’re already addressing the issues the EPA identified and will continue to work with the authority so all stakeholders can have confidence we are doing the right thing,” he said.
The EPA’s audit compliance report of each powers station is available here: