ALCOA has abandoned an alternative-fuel trial planned for Anglesea’s power station, in a win for the town’s residents.
The company was hoping to process a waste product called HiCAL40 carbon fuel, which would have increased airborne fluoride emissions.
Similar emissions at an Alcoa facility in Portland led to Kangaroos that grazed in the area developing bone deformities.
Anglesea residents were angry about the proposed trial’s health impacts on children at the town’s new primary school, which is being built on land bought from Alcoa, about 800m from the power station.
The project was set to start this month but was put on hold after Alcoa discovered a “data error” that meant the trial did not align with EPA guidelines.
Then, yesterday, Alcoa bowed to community pressure to cancel the world-first test.
“Our recent community and stakeholder consultation indicated strong community interest in our final decision on the proposed project,” power station manager Stephanie Pearce said.
“As such, we worked diligently to resolve any uncertainty for the community by completing our review of the project.
“We have made the decision to cancel the proposed trial.”
Resident Sarah Standish planned to move her family out of town if the trial went ahead and said she was thrilled with the cancellation.
“I’m really stoked they’ve decided not to increase the fluoride emissions in the air it’s wonderful news,” she said.
However, Ms Standish expressed concern about what will now happen to the HiCAL40.
“Maybe Anglesea is saved, but what is Alcoa now going to do with their waste products?” she said.
“Is this going to end up being something for some other small town to deal with?”
Fellow resident and mother of six Kareen Umphrey also said she wanted more answers.
“I’m glad that they’ve made the right decision but I’m still concerned,” she said. “We have to find out where they’re going to dispose of that waste I want to make sure it doesn’t come to Anglesea.”
Alcoa said the HiCAL40 would be sent to “other industries”.
“The HiCAL40 product will continue to be successfully used in other industries where it is providing a range of environmental benefits including reducing greenhouse gas emissions and lowering fuel usage,” Ms Pearce said.
Alcoa confirmed HiCAL40 will never be processed in any form at the Anglesea Power Station.
“The trial is permanently cancelled,” Ms Pearce said.