Coal ash in hand

AGL Macquarie has suspended sales of its coal ash and ash by-products as a precaution following concerns over its composition.

AGL’s Executive General Manager of Group Operations, Doug Jackson, said, “We are aware from testing that some of the coal ash from our Bayswater and Liddell power stations show elevated levels of heavy metals including chromium, cadmium and copper exceeding limits set by the Environment Protection Authority.

“We have spoken with all businesses who have purchased our ash and they have indicated to us that their products that have been sold into various markets have met all of the required standards.

“Our external expert’s initial advice is that the levels detected in the coal ash samples taken do not pose a risk to public or worker health and are unlikely to pose an unacceptable risk to the environment given the uses to which the coal ash is put,” Mr Jackson said.

“We acknowledge failures in our own practices, and a thorough review is underway.”

AGL has notified the EPA, SafeWork NSW, NSW Health and all businesses that purchase the ash to use in products such as concrete.

The composition of the ash being sold is governed by the EPA Coal Ash Order 2014. The Order imposes obligations on generators and processors of coal ash, which AGL takes seriously.

“We have asked those businesses that have purchased our ash to cease any further distribution of ash purchased from AGL and have provided assurances we will help them find alternative sources to minimise impacts on their businesses,” Mr Jackson said.

“We have engaged independent scientific experts to undertake testing of AGL’s coal ash and will ensure these results are fully disclosed,” Mr Jackson said.

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