Adani fights wa­ter fine

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - AN­DREW BACKHOUSE

ADANI has de­nied any wrong­do­ing af­ter be­ing slapped with a $ 12,190 fine by the De­part­ment of En­vi­ron­ment and Her­itage Pro­tec­tion for an unau­tho­rised stormwa­ter re­lease dur­ing Cy­clone Deb­bie.

The Adani- owned Ab­bot Point Bulk Coal Pty Ltd was is­sued a tem­po­rary emis­sions li­cence on March 27 this year.

The li­cence per­mit­ted an el­e­vated sus­pended solid limit of 100mg per litre on stormwa­ter re­leases from the ter­mi­nal dur­ing high rain­fall as­so­ci­ated with Deb­bie.

A spokesman for the de- part­ment said the com­pany ad­vised it on April 6 that a non- com­pli­ance with the con­di­tions of the emis­sions li­cence had oc­curred with a re­lease of stormwa­ter from the ter­mi­nal con­tain­ing sus­pended solids recorded at 806 mg per litre.

The stormwa­ter was dis­charged to the sur­round­ing ma­rine wa­ters.

Ab­bot Point Bulk Coal Pty Ltd has until Au­gust 17 to con­test the in­fringe­ment no­tice in court.

Adani spokesman Ron Wat­son said the com­pany stren­u­ously de­nied it had breached the li­cence con­di­tions.

He also ques­tioned why Adani seemed to be the only com­pany tar­geted by the de­part­ment.

“North Queens­land was hit by a se­vere trop­i­cal cy­clone, one of the largest in re­cent his­tory,” Mr Wat­son said.

“There was flood and rain from Townsville all the way down the coast, even in Bris­bane and sur­rounds. We were able to con­tain the flow of sed­i­ment — con­tam­i­nant — from the site into the ocean and we have sci­en­tific data to prove that.

“We strongly re­fute the al­le­ga­tions that we breached our tem­po­rary emis­sions li­cence. We’re look­ing at our op­tions.”

The de­part­ment did not re­spond to ques­tions from the Bul­letin on whether any other com­pa­nies were be­ing in­ves­ti­gated or would be fined for dis­charges dur­ing the event.

A de­part­ment spokesman said the com­pany’s en­vi­ron­men­tal author­ity and li­cence con­tained strict con­di­tions that 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 ap­proval,” the spokesman said.

“The stormwa­ter re­lease that is the sub­ject of the ( li­cence) did not en­ter the ad­ja­cent Ca­ley Val­ley wet­lands. EHP’s in­ves­ti­ga­tions into re­leases into the wet­lands is on­go­ing.”

IT’S AN ART: Tiana Iku­valu and Marie Le­nes­ley try their hand at painting yes­ter­day at the Townsville Cul­tural Fes­ti­val. Pic­ture: FIONA HARDING

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