Toxic ash being 'illegally stored' in Gympie, Brisbane

The Tarong North power station, west of Brisbane. (Google Earth)
The Tarong North power station, west of Brisbane. (Google Earth)

ABOUT 1400 tonnes of toxic ash is being 'illegally stockpiled' at Gympie and in Brisbane from two Government-owned coal-fired power stations.

The ABC has revealed Sydney-based firm Coal Reuse, which has rights to resell coal waste from Stanwell's Tarong and Tarong North power stations near Nanango, has stored the ash in industrial sheds on a property at Gympie and the Brisbane suburb of Pinkenba "for months".

According to the report, the contractor is facing a maximum of more than $7 million in fines for breaches of its approval.

The company has been issued a warning by the Environment Department asking it to explain why it should not be fined.

Member for Lockyer, Ian Rickuss, whose constituents alerted him to the issue, said the results of the investigation were disturbing.

"They're breaking all these conditions of their permits … there are a myriad of questions that need to be answered now," he said.

Mr Rickuss initially raised concerns through the Queensland Parliament in May.

He said Energy Minister Mark Bailey and Environment Minister Steven Miles should have been aware of the breaches earlier.

The ABC reported Coal Reuse was awarded the contract to work at Stanwell sites in May 2014 under the then-LNP government.

It is not clear whether the breaches were also occurring under the LNP.

Stanwell Corporation said in a statement that Coal Reuse continued to meet its obligations for handling of ash products on Stanwell sites.

"Storage of ash products outside Stanwell sites and the approvals relevant to that is a matter for the contractor," the statement said.

"Stanwell is unaware of any breach by Coal Reuse of its environmental obligations.

"We would naturally be concerned if any of our contractors were not complying with their environmental obligations."

Topics:  coal pollution power toxic waste

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