The Hazelwood Pondage will be permanently closed to all public access following an internal review of technical reports. The pondage has been temporarily closed since June 2018 following a report from dam experts, which found the Pondage walls had deteriorated significantly with age since they were constructed in the 1960s. The report found the walls no longer complied with the requirements of the Australian National Committee for Large Dams (ANCOLD). These findings were subsequently confirmed through an independent third-party review. Hazelwood Rehabilitation Project Director, Tony Innocenzi, said he understood the community’s connection to the Hazelwood Pondage. “As the owner of the pondage, we’re responsible for managing these risks, and we simply will not compromise on community safety,” Mr Innocenzi said. “We understand that community members and users of the Pondage will be disappointed with the loss of such a well-known asset, but we see no other option.” The reduction of the water level by a further 1.7 metres to alleviate pressure on the dam walls continues, within daily operating limits as approved by the Environment Protection Authority (EPA). Mr Innocenzi said regular visual inspections of the pondage walls remain in place, along with real time survey monitoring on the embankment walls of both Eel Hole Creek and Switchback Road.