Eskom, South Africa’s state power utility, was ordered to comply with pollution limits at three of its coal-fired plants this year while two more are being investigated, the government’s environment department said in its first disclosure about most of the orders.
The violations listed in the National Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Report 2019-20 include excessive emissions of particulate matter and groundwater pollution. The violations and orders are as follows:
- Kendal Power Station: Exceeding emission limits and poor maintenance of pollution abatement equipment. The department has demanded time frames be added to a plan to rectify the problems.
- Camden Power Station: Compliance notice issued in May after limited progress made in rectifying pollution violations.
- Tutuka Power Station: Compliance notices issued in May to rectify exceedances of emission limits and breaches of water licenses that have led to ground and surface-water pollution.
- Duvha Power Station: Request made for additional information after excessive dust and particulate matter emissions were discovered. Also noted was the absence of a water-use license and the dumping of coal waste and sulfuric acid sludge in an unlined ash dam.
- Lethabo Power Station: Enforcement action issued in May against which the company may make representations. Issues include excessive particulate matter emissions, unlined ash dams.
“Our environmental performance continues to be deeply disappointing, with both emissions and water usage performance far exceeding targets,” Eskom said in its annual results report released on October 31. “We are redoubling our efforts to improve our compliance with legislated standards.”
Eskom’s particulate matter emissions are the worst since 1997, the company said in the report.
“The action to address the areas of non-compliance have either been completed or are in the process of being closed out,” Eskom said in a response to questions. Plans to improve “plant performance will address many of the environmental challenges being experienced, specifically with regard to emissions and water,” the utility said.