The Queensland Department of Environment and Science has fined Abbot Point Bulkcoal $13,055 for an unauthorised stormwater release at its terminal near Bowen in February.
DES issued Abbot Point Bulkcoal with a penalty infringement notice, saying the release of water had not met the environmental standards prescribed in the company’s environmental authority to operate the port.
The terminal operator, owned by Adani Australia, said the Caley Valley Wetlands and Great Barrier Reef were not been harmed by the floodwater release.
It came during an extreme weather event, when Abbot Point had received more than 900mm of rainfall since December 2018.
The floodwater that entered the Caley Valley Wetlands was released via an authorised release point and analysis showed ‘total suspended solids’ was 58 mg/L.
“The following day Queensland Government environment officials were onsite undertaking their own inspections and taking monitoring samples, which returned a result of 33mg/L,” a company statement said.
“The maximum limit of total suspended solids allowed in a floodwater release under the Port’s Environmental Authority is 30 mg/L.
“Numerous inspections have been undertaken of the Caley Valley Wetlands since the unprecedented weather in February, confirming the wetlands are thriving.”
A DES spokesperson said industry had an obligation to ensure they worked within the approved environmental standards for their operations.
“Our job is to ensure we protect the environment and we will hold all industry to account where environmental obligations are not met,” a department spokesman said.