Saturday, May 25, 2024

Cessnock council fined $15k for water pollution

Cessnock City Council has been fined $15,000 for breaching its EPA licence by failing to maintain a dam which allowed contaminated water to be discharged into the environment from the Cessnock Waste and Reuse Centre.

NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) Director, David Gathercole said Council operates the dam to collect and treat water at the premises.

“EPA officers observed contaminated water in the dam at a level that was far too high,” Mr Gathercole said.

“The equipment used to measure dam levels appeared to be installed incorrectly, giving a false indication that dam levels were lower.

“Officers also found that council had allegedly failed to physically check the water levels leading to contaminated water discharging through the dam spillway.

“These breaches run the risk of creating large-scale pollution events which can be destructive on both the environment and community.”

He said every licence holder had a duty to understand its obligations and keep equipment in good condition.

A $15,000 Penalty Infringement Notice (PIN) is the largest fine the EPA can issue under its legislation.

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