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Chimneys coming down

Chimneys coming down

Hazelwood chimney demolition possibly Monday

Demolition of the eight chimneys at the former Hazelwood Power Station is drawing near and, depending on weather conditions, could occur as soon as this coming week.

The demolition of the eight chimneys is a major milestone in the multi-year program of rehabilitation works across the site of the former Hazelwood mine and Power Station, to create a safe, stable and sustainable landform.

The demolition team has been studying the weather conditions and believes there is an opportunity possibly on Monday 25 May. This will be confirmed early on Monday.

If weather conditions are not favourable, the collapse will be postponed.

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On the day of the collapse there will be some road closures near the site, on Brodribb Road, Yinnar Road and Nadenbousch’s Road, for brief period of time. Traffic management plans will also be put in place on the Princes Freeway, Strzelecki Highway and some access roads to the Freeway from Morwell. These roads will also be closed, but only for a few minutes prior to the chimney fell.

The Hazelwood site will be closed down for the day, with only essential personnel involved. A 500 metre exclusion zone will be in place around the chimneys, hence the road closures adjacent to the former power station entry off Brodribb Road.

In the current COVID-19 situation the public is discouraged from any gathering or viewing at or near the site.

However, due to a great amount of public interest, a livestream of the event will take place and can be accessed through the website www.hazelwoodrehabilitation.com.au.

The 137-metre-high chimneys were constructed in the 1960s and while they are currently quite stable they are deteriorating and need to be demolished to ensure workforce and public health and safety.

The chimneys are steel reinforced concrete structures, with minimal asbestos bonded within pre-formed concrete vent pipes located away from the detonation region. When the chimneys are demolished the minimal quantity of asbestos is expected to remain within the concrete vent pipes, an outcome that has been independently assessed.

However all of the chimney rubble will be treated as a potential hazard. It will be transported on internal roads to an on-site, Environment Protection Authority licensed asbestos waste landfill cell.

The containment cell has been developed under strict regulatory guidelines and is subject to regular and on-going safety and environmental audits to ensure compliance. All materials are handled by specialist A-Class asbestos removalists under an Asbestos Management and Control Plan, which includes monitoring and inspection by independent hygienists. As well, there is a Senior Victorian Work Safe Inspector on site full time.

ENGIE Hazelwood said they acknowledge the significant public interest in the chimneys.

“We know the Hazelwood Chimneys have long been a significant part of the Latrobe Valley skyline and a symbol of the contribution Hazelwood has made to the local and state economy over a long period of time,” ENGIE Demolition Project Manager Tom McDowall said. “The demolition is not a celebration but a task that must be undertaken for health and safety reasons and for the Hazelwood site to become safe, sustainable and stable for the long term benefit of the community.”

If anyone has further questions relating to the demolition activities, the Hazelwood Rehabilitation Project team can be contacted by at email: hazelwood.au@engie.com

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