Edgar Dam upgrades get the green light

The Federal Government has given Hydro Tasmania the go-ahead to start upgrades to Edgar Dam, in southwest Tasmania.

The Federal Government has given Hydro Tasmania the go-ahead to start upgrades to Edgar Dam in the southwest of Tasmania.

The office of Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek this week confirmed that the works will not significantly impact the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (TWWHA) or other matters of national environmental significance, provided that the action is undertaken in the particular manner set out in the decision.

The decision follows consideration of the works under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

The federal Department of Climate Change, the Environment, Energy and Water (DCCEEW) determined the works ‘not a controlled action—particular manner.’ DCCEEW accepted Hydro Tasmania’s specific environmental controls and deemed no further assessment or conditions necessary.

Hydro Tasmania Assets and Infrastructure Executive General Manager Jesse Clark said the decision allows works to commence later this year.

“It’s great to get to this point after several years of design, planning, approvals and community consultation,” Clark said.

“We’ll now conduct a tender process for specialist construction services to deliver the works over two summers.”

Environmental controls put forward by Hydro Tasmania include:

  • Restricting truck movements within the TWWHA to daylight hours to minimise impacts to wildlife
  • Washing vehicles thoroughly before entering and exiting the site
  • Importing materials from a commercially accredited quarry
  • Keeping the site footprint and vegetation clearing to a minimum

Edgar Dam is adjacent to the Lake Edgar Fault Line, which was thought to be inactive at the time of construction. After extensive investigation, experts determined the fault could not be considered inactive.

Upgrade works will include new downstream gravel filters. The rockfill will support the existing dam, improving its seismic resistance in the extremely unlikely event of a major earthquake, in line with national guidelines.

The Edgar Dam sits at the southern end of the Gordon-Pedder Hydro Scheme, which provides critical multi-seasonal storage and 13 per cent of Tasmania’s renewable power. For more information about the project, go to connect.hydro.com.au

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