The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has fined Hy-Tec Industries Pty Ltd $15,000 following the discharge of polluted water into a tributary of the Tweed River in northern NSW.
The discharged water had a low pH, meaning it was acidic and may impact on the water quality of the Tweed River and potentially harm plants and animals living in the river.
Following heavy rain in February 2020, EPA officers made a pre-arranged site inspection at Hy-Tec’s Reedy Creek Quarries at Dulguigan near Tumbulgum. Officers saw water discharging offsite into Dulguigan Creek coming from a sediment basin which is not permitted under Hy-Tec’s Environment Protection Licence.
EPA Acting Director Regional Operations Brett Nudd said the sediment basin wall had failed allowing the water to flow offsite from the quarry without treatment.
“This incident was preventable and had the potential to cause environmental harm to a tributary of the Rous River and Tweed River catchment. It was also potentially harmful to the plants and animals which rely on the clean river water to live,” Mr Nudd said.
“Hy-Tec had been made aware of deficiencies in the site’s water management infrastructure well in advance of this un-authorised discharge.
“These deficiencies had the potential to have an environmental impact on surrounding waterways and that’s exactly what our officers identified on the day of their inspection.”
In consideration of the circumstances of the incident a Penalty Notice for $15,000 has been issued to Hy-Tec for an alleged breach of an EPA licence condition for the licensed activities not being carried out in a competent manner.
Penalty notices are one of a number of tools the EPA can use to achieve environmental compliance including formal warnings, official cautions, licence conditions, notices and directions and prosecutions.
For more information about the EPA’s regulatory tools, see the EPA Compliance Policy at www.epa.nsw.gov.au/legislation/prosguid.htm