The Hazelwood mine and power station in the Latrobe Valley will cease operations on 31 March 2017, but EPA will have involvement at the site for many years to come. EPA currently licenses environmental discharges from the Hazelwood power station and will regulate the environmental aspects of decommissioning, remediation and water discharges from the cooling pond and site.
The site operator, ENGIE, must comply with the Environment Protection Act 1970 and EPA-issued statutory notices that outline the need to manage environmental harm.
Continued regulation of the Hazelwood site
The Hazelwood site is currently licensed by EPA under Section 20 of the Environment Protection Act 1970. This EPA licence will continue to apply after the mine and power station cease operations.
The licence outlines requirements to manage the impact on the environment associated with managing landfills, discharge of air and water, and contamination of land and groundwater. EPA will be involved in regulating the site for the foreseeable future, as decommissioning and remediation work is likely to take many years.
As standard practice EPA will amend ENGIE’s licence to appropriately reflect current activities onsite and minimise any environmental risks.
EPA continues to require monitoring of licensed air quality discharges from the site. EPA’s Latrobe Valley air monitoring network – with stations at Morwell South, Morwell East, Churchill, Moe and Traralgon – will enable any changes in air quality due to the closure to be tracked.
We are also working closely with other Victorian Government agencies to ensure a coordinated approach to government involvement in the site’s closure.
Hazelwood cooling pond
The water temperature in the Hazelwood cooling pond, which was previously stocked with warm water fish, is artificially high, as it receives heated water from the power station. After operations cease the water temperature will drop, since heated water will no longer circulate, potentially impacting the ecology in the cooling pond.
Fisheries Victoria is leading research into the potential impacts on the recreational fishery of this water body. EPA will work with Fisheries Victoria to provide information and assistance as appropriate.
All onsite activities are coordinated by the site operator.
Further information about closure activities is available on the Hazelwood closure page of ENGIE’s website.
ENGIE has also published a number of fact sheets about on site activities.
Pollution and waste
ENGIE must immediately notify EPA of non-compliance with its licence and is obliged to provide us an annual summary of its licence compliance onsite.
EPA also conducts regular compliance assessments and has the authority to issue fines for any licence breaches.
Community members with concerns about pollution or waste from the Hazelwood site are encouraged to report it to EPA by calling 1300 372 842 (1300 EPA VIC).