An infographic of the incident as supplied by Adani.
An infographic of the incident as supplied by Adani.

Adani fined over contaminated water release

ADANI has been fined $13,000 for breaching its environmental licence at the Abbot Point coal terminal during the February flood catastrophe.

The mining giant revealed the Department of Environment and science had issued a fine of $13,055 on Monday after Adani released water containing nearly double the amount of contaminants allowed from Abbot Point into the Caley Valley Wetlands.

Adani is allowed to release contaminated water that contains a maximum of 30mg/L of "total suspended solids", which includes coal sediment.

A spokeswoman for Abbot Point Operations said a sample taken on the day the water was released, analysed by an accredited third-party, confirmed it contained 58mg/L of total suspended solids.

"The following day Queensland Government environment officials were onsite undertaking their own inspections and taking monitoring samples, which returned a result of 33mg/L," she said.

More than 900mm of rain fell at Abbot Point between December and the time the water was released on February 7.

Adani is expected to make a decision on whether it will fight the charge or cop the fine in coming days.

The company has said there was "no environmental harm" to the Caley Valley Wetlands, that no floodwater entered the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, and that elevation of contaminant levels was a "fraction of the levels usually found in flood events".

This is the second time Adani has been fined for breaching its environmental licence.

It is still fighting a prosecution by the DES in relation to its 2017 release of contaminated water from Abbot Point during Cyclone Debbie.

That water was found to contain eight time the authorised concentration of suspended solids.

The Abbot Point Operations spokeswoman said it was in the process of executing more than $15 million in upgrades as part of a $50 million project.

"The works that have been completed to date have greatly assisted in retaining on site the large volume of rainfall that was received," she said.

"These upgrades include: increasing the volume of water storage ponds, upgrade of a bund wall, including new piping and pump facilities, as well as our early works program on the redesign of remaining water management infrastructure at other release points.

"Further upgrades will be delivered by 2021 and will include: design and construction of an additional water storage pond, upgrades to all other release points, including upgrades to sumps, pumps, and piping."



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