Providing coal export services means operating adjacent to and over Newcastle Harbour, and we understand the importance of managing our potential impact on the Hunter River. The efficient use of water is a key component of responsible day-to-day management of our operations and is central to what we do.
How we manage water
Managing water at Port Waratah is a careful balance between harvesting water for operational uses, such as dust suppression, wash downs, firefighting systems and irrigation, and ensuring that storage capacity is maintained in anticipation of storm events. We do this to ensure compliance with statutory requirements while using water sustainably.
Each Terminal has a complex water management system comprised of drains, sumps, launders and pipes to transport the water to our tanks or ponds for storage and settling before reuse recirculation. These systems are managed by operational personnel and regularly maintained.
Preserving the quality of the Hunter River is an important consideration in our water management programme. The Hunter River estuary extends 64km inland from the Port of Newcastle and covers an area of 22,000 square kilometres. Although we undertake prudent planning measures, there are times when rainfall received is greater than reuse demand or storage capacity. In this event, excess water is released into the arms of the Hunter River in the Port of Newcastle via our licenced discharge or monitoring points.
Our commitment to improvement
Our Environmental Protection Licences govern the criteria for water discharge at our Terminals. In addition, we have implemented our own Pollution Reduction Program to mitigate risks and prevent overflows. The quality and volume of our discharges are recorded monthly and are published in our Environmental Monitoring Data for each Terminal.
Port Waratah is committed to continually investing in water management improvements, including improving discharge water quality and increasing our storage capacity to manage storm events. In 2017, we installed and commissioned a Control Discharge Filtration System (CDFS) at our Carrington Terminal. This allows us to reduce our impact on the Hunter River, as the CDFS filters water and removes most of the solids before clarified water is discharged from the site. In 2019, we constructed two stormwater tanks at our Carrington Terminal, providing an additional 13 megalitres of water storage capacity, to capture stormwater runoff and reduce the likelihood of an overflow event.
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