Community group discusses coal-ash

Members of the Coal-ash Community Alliance at the recent Power and Pollution Summit.

Residents and members of the Coal-Ash Community Alliance (CCA) are set to discuss the future of coal-ash waste dumps on the shores of Lake Macquarie this month.

The event will take place one year after the controversial closure of the Myuna Bay Sport and Recreation Centre.

CCA’s Bruce Derkenne said the impact these waste dumps were having on the community was unacceptable and changes needed to be made.

“In addition to the structural issues, ash dumps in our region are causing heavy metals, including arsenic, chromium, copper, zinc, selenium, cadmium and nickel to pollute our lake and groundwater,” he said.

“It’s unacceptable and we want these toxic sites decontaminated and rehabilitated.”

Mr Derkenne is organising a community awareness event to keep Lake Macquarie residents informed.

“The awareness about the impacts of the ash waste dams in our region has been steadily growing since Myuna Bay [Sport and Recreation Centre] closed, and we are looking forward to sharing ideas and potential solutions to the environmental and community impacts of coal-ash so we can avoid any more big losses to the community, like the closure of Myuna Bay,” he said.

The recreation centre was forced to close last year when the State Government deemed the coal ash dam could pose a risk in the event of an earthquake.

This was despite Geoscience Australia – the federal agency which measures that risk – rating the chance of a 5.9 magnitude earthquake occurring within 100 kilometres of Myuna Bay as one in 5,000 years or more.

The CCA was formed following this closure and members want to see the heavy metal pollution caused by leachate from both facilities addressed before and during the transition of the coal plants.

While the centre closure prompted the formation of the group, its core concerns are focused on the pollution of groundwater and Lake Macquarie stemming from the coal-ash dumps of Eraring, as well as the Vales Point power stations.

The Myuna Bay and coal-ash update will be hosted at Wangi Workers Club on Wednesday 25 March.

The event will start at 6pm. Go to the Coal-Ash Community Alliance Facebook page for more information.