Looking after the River
Posted 18 March 2012 - 07:33 AM
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Posted 18 March 2012 - 09:51 AM
Posted 18 March 2012 - 12:26 PM
Edited by Nova, 18 March 2012 - 12:27 PM.
Posted 18 March 2012 - 01:06 PM
"How power company was permitted to poison river
March 18, 2012
IN 2007, the Blue Mountains Conservation Society suspected the Delta power company was discharging harmful substances into the Coxs River, which is part of Sydney's drinking water catchment.
It raised the alarm with the EPA, the Sydney Catchment Authority, and the Minister for the Environment, according to a new report commissioned for the Nature Conservation Council.
In 2008, the EPA announced it did not intend to prosecute Delta despite evidence the company was continuing to pollute the river.
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In 2009, the society filed its own civil action in the Land and Environment Court claiming the company was polluting the water. It alleged salt, copper, zinc, aluminium, boron, fluoride and arsenic were being pumped into river in waste water from the Wallerawang power station and Delta had no authorisation to do it.
Last year, the society agreed to stop legal proceedings on the condition Delta admitted it had discharged waste water into the river between 2007 and 2011 and it submitted an application to the EPA to vary its licence to include a maximum limit on the levels of salt, copper, zinc, aluminium, boron, fluoride, arsenic and nickel it could discharge.
Delta agreed and was required to include a condition in its licence for a pollution reduction program.
At no point did the EPA take enforcement action itself. It varied Delta's licence after the court action and required Delta to monitor the same pollutants the society had complained about."
Posted 18 March 2012 - 01:29 PM
Nothing really because we don't know what the levels that went into river were. EPA weren't concerned enough to take action anyway, so to accuse them of poisoning us may be libel.
It may well be that they just wanted the society to stop being a nuisance and therefore agreed to vary its licence to have maximum limits on those 'pollutants' which were already under said maximum. The society in turn probably agreed that those maximum levels were already met and were safe levels and thus accepted them.
Storm (flood?) in a tea cup.
Edited by Colin, 18 March 2012 - 01:30 PM.
Posted 18 March 2012 - 02:41 PM
The fact that copper, zinc, aluminium, boron, fluoride, arsenic and nickel have been released without monitoring is bad enough, whether the levels are below what the EPA retrospectively defines as a "maximum". An emollient regulator may issue bespoke "maximum" levels to fit the circumstances and avoid unpleasantness.
Note also that the company is required to undertake a "pollution reduction program". This implies that the levels are above trace or insignificant.
Edited by DistanceRunner, 18 March 2012 - 02:42 PM.
Posted 18 March 2012 - 06:04 PM
I can't see any indication in report that they did no testing
No , there is no implication of that. They agreed to the reduction program in the avoidance of a legal stoush with the society. Yes, it may mean that they didn't want records dug up in a court case, but we can't guess what the levels were.
Posted 19 March 2012 - 08:39 AM
This is what SMH reported on 18/10/11 - http://www.smh.com.a...1017-1ltdz.html
This is what it reported on 2/12/08 - http://www.smh.com.a...7979933075.html
"The Blue Mountains Conservation Society discovered the pollution in 2007 while undertaking Streamwatch testing. Further investigation by University of Western Sydney researcher Ian Wright found dangerously high levels of metals, including copper and boron, in the river, which is a popular trout fishing and swimming spot"
"The contaminated river has high levels of heavy metals including zinc, copper and manganese, 125 times more sulphate than surrounding streams and just 5 per cent of the oxygen that most fish need to survive. ....
The river's pH levels, which measure the acidity of the water, are up to 1000 times higher than nearby creeks, the tests show. The river is also 80 times as salty as it should be, according to tests undertaken over a two-year period by researchers for the Blue Mountains Conservation Society, using Sydney Water-approved kits......
The Sydney Catchment Authority has confirmed that the test results are accurate, but says the water becomes safe to drink as it flows towards Warragamba Dam."
Enviro blog with more background on what it took for BMCS reached a settlement with Delta (owned by Gov) rather than continue action: http://anenvironment...rowski/#more-22
From The Land:
In summary; Wallerawang Power Station was allowed to discharge water from its cooling tower into the Cox River without cleaning it - that water pumped out of the Summerfield coal mine workings next door is piped to the power station to use for cooling (and then into the Cox). The only surprise would be IF the river were not contaminated.
The irony is that while Delta were knowingly discharging this cocktail of nasties into the Sydney Drinking water (cox 2 warragamba dam) - they were being given a 'Green Award' for using the reclaimed water from the Coal mine.
Pervioulsy they had taken water from Oberon Dam - but that had it's problems too: http://www.smh.com.a...91118-imjy.html
EDIT: PS I thought this was a running Forum?
Edited by halfwaydown, 19 March 2012 - 08:55 AM.