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Next steps for contaminated land at Lake Munmorah

NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) 2 mins read

Land at the former Lake Munmorah Power Station on the Central Coast has been declared significantly contaminated by the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) and will be cleaned-up. 

Part of the site is affected with petroleum hydrocarbon and PFAS pollution, which stems from the historical operation of the coal-fired power station and past use of fire-fighting foams containing PFAS. 

The site has been fenced off and inaccessible to the public since 2016, limiting potential contamination exposure. 

EPA’s Executive Director of Regulatory Operations, Jason Gordon said the declaration is the first step in addressing environmental concerns on the ground.

“We know the community will be relieved the clean-up process can finally get underway,” Mr Gordon said. 

“Making this declaration allows us to regulate the ongoing management of the site and ensure all remediation efforts are carried out safely and in a timely manner. 

“Removing contaminants like PFAS and petroleum hydrocarbon from the land will better protect the environment and people’s health for current and future generations. 

“This allows the site to eventually be redeveloped for another use, opening up opportunities for new jobs and investment in the local economy.”

It’s important to note, testing found seafood from the Tuggerah Lakes system remains safe to eat as part of a balanced diet (no more than 2-3 serves of seafood a week). Fishing is already banned within the power station’s canals and water systems.

Mr Gordon said Generator Property Management (GPM) is responsible for the active investigation and remediation of the contaminated areas. 

“GPM owns the impacted land and is required to keep locals and stakeholders up to date with the progress of its management plan,” Mr Gordon said. 

“The EPA will continue to work with GPM towards a safer and more sustainable environment for the Doyalson community.” 

To ensure transparency and compliance, an EPA accredited contaminated specialist, known as a Site Auditor, will oversee and review all works completed by GPM and its consultants.  

In recent years, GPM has been committed to investigating PFAS and hydrocarbon contamination under the environment protection licence for the former Munmorah Power Station, and as part of the EPA’s PFAS investigation program. 

Pollution issues in other areas of the site, including the coal-ash repository will continue to be regulated under the existing environment protection licence.

Demolition of the former Munmorah Power Station was completed in 2018 after operations stopped in 2012.

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