Enforceable Undertakings: Media Release Archives

Inghams to contribute $79,800 to monitor local water quality after EPA investigation

Media release: 19 May 2015

Inghams Enterprises Pty Ltd has entered into an Enforceable Undertaking with the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) to provide $79,800 to a Lake Macquarie City Council initiative to improve water quality in MacNamarra Creek.

The Enforceable Undertaking is in response to a pollution incident that occurred in May 2014, where poultry blood from the Inghams poultry abattoir at Cardiff was accidently discharged into a stormwater drain and impacted on the nearby Winding Creek.

EPA Hunter Region Manager, Adam Gilligan, said the incident would not have any long term impacts on the creek or surrounding environment but could have been prevented.

“The EPA was alerted to the pollution incident on 20 May 2014 by officers from Lake Macquarie City Council who observed a blood-like substance in Winding Creek.

“The EPA undertook a site visit to Inghams later that day and requested an incident report into the matter.

“A subsequent inspection by the EPA found that the company had responded with an appropriate and thorough clean-up of the site.

”This incident occurred after a trailer damaged a poultry blood tank and would have been captured on site had there not been a blockage of a stormwater first flush system. This caused the material to back up and flow directly into the storm water drain and then discharge offsite.

“Inghams has since implemented a range of measures to prevent this type of incident from reoccurring including the installation of a second back-up pump and level detector with alarm in the first flush system, capped drains and additional staff training.”

Under the terms of the Enforceable Undertaking, the $79,800 will be used by Council to improve water quality in MacNamarra Creek and manage flooding impacts. This will include installing of two gross pollutant traps, increasing the capacity of the Bioretention Basin, and realigning the creek to prevent it draining into private land at Wansbeck Valley Road.

Mr Gilligan said “Enforceable Undertakings were just one of a number of tools the EPA can use to achieve environmental compliance from industry. Others include formal warnings, penalty notices, notices and directions, mandatory audits, and, when necessary, prosecutions.

“Enforceable Undertakings are often imposed when there is a serious breach of licence requirements to ensure measures are promptly put in place to redress any environmental harm and obtain a good and lasting benefit for the environment,” he said.


Koala research set to benefit from EPA investigation

Media release: 17 March 2015

Gunnedah Quarry Products Pty Ltd has entered into an enforceable undertaking with the Environment Protection Authority (EPA), following a breach of the company’s environment protection licence and an investigation by the EPA.

EPA Armidale Regional Manager, Simon Smith, said the company has an Environment Protection Licence which allows it to extract up to 100,000 tonnes of gravel per year at Mary’s Mount Quarry in Mullaley.

'Between May 2013 and 2014 Gunnedah Quarry extracted a total 166,563 tonnes of material, that’s 66,653 tonnes in excess of the licence limit. This was not in accordance with the licence conditions.

'The EPA believes that the incident had the potential to cause environmental harm, particularly in the form of noise and dust emissions.

'Gunnedah Quarry Products’ management has acknowledged the EPA’s concerns and entered into an enforceable undertaking. This will see the company contribute $32,000 towards a local koala research project which will be carried out by the Office of Environment and Heritage.

'This project will provide a good environmental outcome and will benefit the long term conservation of the koalas in the area,' Mr Smith said.

The project will involve the analysis of community koala sighting data, tracking koalas around the Mary’s Mount area using GPS collars, undertaking tree and habitat surveys, and will look at how koalas use the landscape. The project will help identify and protect critical linkages and help to make sure future planting programs are most effective for the koala population.

The project will also study how koalas move through modified landscapes and the connectivity with known koala population centres to the east (Gunnedah) and to the west (Pilliga Forests).

Gunnedah Quarry Products Pty Ltd will also pay the EPA’s legal costs.

Enforceable Undertakings are just one of a number of tools the EPA can use to achieve environmental compliance. These tools include formal warnings, penalty notices, notices and directions, mandatory audits, and prosecutions.

Enforceable Undertakings are often imposed when there is a serious breach of licence requirements to ensure measures are promptly put in place to redress any environmental harm and obtain a good and lasting benefit for the environment.


Crown Lands enters into Enforceable Undertaking following Belmore Basin sewage leak

Media release: 14 January 2015

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has agreed to an Enforceable Undertaking offered by NSW Crown Lands following a sewage leak at Belmore Basin in Wollongong Harbour in January 2014.

Crown Lands operates a sewage pump station on its land in the working port area of Belmore Basin. The Wollongong Fishermens Co-operative Ltd occupies the nearby Fishermen’s Co-op building and manages wastewater pipelines between the Co-op building and Crown Lands’ sewage pump station.

EPA Director Metropolitan Giselle Howard said the sewage leak, which occurred between 11 January and 3 February 2014, was caused by a number of factors, including intermittent failure of the sewage pump station and cracks in the wastewater pipelines.

The effect on water quality was localised to where the leak occurred and, as a precaution, an adjacent beach was closed to the public.

'As part of the Enforceable Undertaking, Crown Lands will undertake works and programs that will significantly benefit the local environment and community,' said Ms Howard.

'This will include preparing an Operations Plan for the continued use of Belmore Basin and a Contamination Assessment for the Central Pier Precinct, removing the Slipway Workshop, substantial heritage conservation works, installing signage, and paying $25,000 to Wollongong City Council for a landscape maintenance project, intended for the Wollongong Harbour Precinct.

'An Enforceable Undertaking is a legally binding regulatory response. These required actions are over and above measures that Crown Lands has put in place to prevent a recurrence.'

Crown Lands is also required to pay $12,450 for the EPA’s investigation and legal costs.

The EPA has also issued a formal warning to the Wollongong Fishermens Co-operative Ltd in relation to the incident.

Enforceable Undertakings are just one of a number of tools the EPA can use to achieve environmental compliance, including formal warnings, penalty notices, notices and directions, mandatory audits, and prosecutions.


Sydney Water to pay $200,000 after sewage spill at Glenfield

Media release: 10 December 2014

As a result of an Enforceable Undertaking* with the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA), Sydney Water Corporation (Sydney Water) has agreed to pay $200,000 to fund environmental works, following a pollution incident at the Glenfield Water Recycling Plant, Macquarie Fields in November 2013.

The EPA’s Director Metropolitan, Giselle Howard, said the incident resulted in the discharge of the equivalent of 153 Olympic swimming pools of sewage wastewater into Bunbury Curran Creek, which flows into the Georges River.

'This incident had the potential to cause significant environmental harm, with EPA samples taken after the incident confirming high levels of pollutants consistent with sewage downstream of the incident site,' Ms Howard said.

The sewage overflow occurred after the failure of a valve within the pumping station caused flooding, rendering wastewater pumps inoperable for an extended period and causing a build-up of wastewater, which was discharged into Bunbury Curran Creek.

During the initial stages of the incident a precautionary health warning was put in place for the downstream length of the Georges River.

The EPA notes that Sydney Water took immediate actions to mitigate the overflow to the environment and implemented extensive monitoring, clean-up and preventative measures.

A contributing factor to the quantity of wastewater discharged into the creek was a severe storm across western Sydney on 22 November 2013, which produced a significant inflow to the plant in a short period.

'Sydney Water has acknowledged the EPA’s concern that the incident contravened section 120(1) of the POEO Act for pollution of waters,' Ms Howard said.

'Given the circumstances of the event the EPA considers that an Enforceable Undertaking is the appropriate regulatory response for this incident.'

Under the terms of the Enforceable Undertaking*, Sydney Water will fund environmental works to be carried out by Liverpool and Fairfield Councils, in the amount of $100,000 each. The works will help to prevent future pollution within the Georges River catchment area.

The public are encouraged to report pollution incidents to the EPA via its Environment Line on 131 555.


Hunter Water signs an Enforceable Undertaking following chemical spill in Swansea NSW

Media release: 28 July 2014

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has agreed to an Enforceable Undertaking with the Hunter Water Corporation following a pollution incident.

The EPA’s Acting Director North, Brett Nudd, said that an Enforceable Undertaking is a legally binding regulatory response the EPA can use where it is concerned there has been a breach of environmental legislation.

The pollution incident occurred in January 2013 when approximately 350 litres of corrosive liquid spilled onto soil at a sewerage pump station in Swansea, NSW.

Mr Nudd said that under the Enforceable Undertaking, Hunter Water has agreed to pay $60,000 to the Lake Macquarie City Council for regeneration works at nearby Black Ned’s Bay, to put into action a comprehensive Remedial Action Plan and to take other steps to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.

“In January 2013 a contractor to Hunter Water reported that corrosive liquid containing ferrous chloride and hydrochloric acid had spilled onto soil due to a mechanical failure at a wastewater pump station located at 137 Northcote Avenue, Swansea. The corrosive liquid is toxic to humans by inhalation, ingestion and skin contact, and acutely toxic to fauna and flora, in particular aquatic fauna and flora. The contractor had then carried out a series of containment actions, to the satisfaction of Hunter Water.

“However in June 2013 it was learned that an underground bore adjacent to the spill site had been contaminated by ferrous chloride. Hunter Water then carried out further investigations and informed the EPA of the contamination.

“The EPA responded by conducting site inspections; taking and analysing samples; requesting and reviewing reports; requesting and reviewing information and records; and issuing a Clean Up notice under section 91 of the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997.

“The EPA considers that an Enforceable Undertaking is the appropriate regulatory response in these circumstances. The EU is enforceable through the NSW Land and Environment Court. It allows for the remediation of the environmental impacts and requires actions that will directly benefit the environment and community. Enforceable Undertakings are an effective tool as they ensure on-going compliance, redress environmental harm and can obtain good and lasting benefits.”

Enforceable undertakings are just one of a number of tools the EPA can use to achieve environmental compliance, including formal warnings, licence conditions, notices and directions, mandatory audits, penalty notices, legally binding pollution reduction programs and prosecutions.

The EPA must also take a range of factors into account before delivering a proportionate regulatory response, including the degree of environmental harm, whether or not there are any real or potential health impacts, if the action of the offender was deliberate, compliance history, public interest and best environmental outcomes.

For more information about the EPA’s regulatory tools, see the EPA Compliance Policy http://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/legislation/prosguid.htm.

The public are encouraged to report pollution incidents to the EPA via its Environment Line on 131 555.


EPA signs Enforceable Undertaking with Wambo Coal

Media release: 18 February 2014

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has signed an Enforceable Undertaking with Singleton mine operators, Wambo Coal Pty Ltd following a water pollution incident.

The EPA’s Director of North Branch, Gary Davey said an Enforceable Undertaking is a legally binding regulatory response the EPA can use where there has been a breach of environmental legislation.

The water pollution incident occurred in late January to early February 2013, after sediment from the newly constructed North Wambo Creek Diversion discharged downstream into the natural basin of North Wambo Creek.

On February 7 the EPA received information that an amount of sediment had eroded from the banks of the diverted section of creek and moved downstream.

Staff from the EPA’s Hunter office investigated the incident, requesting a detailed report from Wambo Coal and conducting a number of site inspections.

“Our staff found that a lack of erosion controls along the banks of the diverted section of creek, combined with heavy rain contributed to the discharge of sediment,” Gary Davey said.

“When contractors began construction in 2012, the North Wambo Creek had been dry since 2009. The hot, dry conditions at the time meant there was a slower than normal growth of vegetation along the creek banks, with many of the seedlings the mine’s contractors planted failing to grow.

“North Wambo Creek is a natural alluvial creek system that experiences intermittent flooding. However, when water did start flowing through the system there was insufficient vegetation in place, particularly along the newly built diversion section, to prevent the movement of sediment,” Mr Davey said.

“After the incident, the EPA imposed conditions on Wambo’s environment protection licence to address the incident. The EPA understands that Wambo has spent over $400,000 on civil works, remediation, planning and consultants in order to comply with these conditions.

“The EPA has taken all these circumstances into consideration in deciding to proceed with the Enforceable Undertaking. Given the alluvial nature of North Wambo Creek the movement of sediment during times of flooding is not uncommon, and therefore the EPA considers the environmental harm from this particular sediment discharge as low.” Mr Davey said.

Wambo Coal will also be required to pay $30,000 to the Singleton Shire Council for the Council to undertake an agreed river rehabilitation program, and also to pay $7,000 in legal costs to the EPA.


Namoi Cotton to pay more than $140,000 as part of an EPA Enforceable Undertaking following escape of cotton trash into Namoi River

Media release: 27 August 2013

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has entered into an Enforceable Undertaking (EU) with Namoi Cotton Co-operative Ltd to improve the co-operative’s environmental performance following an investigation into cotton trash entering the Namoi Gully and Namoi River from Namoi Cotton land at Wee Waa, NSW.

Under the EU, Namoi Cotton will make amends by paying $100,000 towards an environmental project in the Narrabri Shire Council local government area, and pay for the EPA’s legal and investigation costs totalling almost $44,000.

Namoi Cotton will also be required to remove all cotton trash from the land, immediately cease using the land for depositing of cotton trash, and review and update its internal environmental policies and systems.

In addition the company will need to provide training to its employees, undertake an environmental risk assessment of its operations, nominate senior managers with responsibilities for environmental performance and publish a notice in several local newspapers containing details of the EU.

Acting EPA Chief Environmental Regulator Giselle Howard said this was a good outcome for the environment following an EPA investigation that found there was potential for harm to the environment.

'EPA investigators found that Namoi Cotton had deposited cotton trash on land located adjacent to Namoi Cotton’s Warehouse and Shipping Complex at Wee Waa without an environment protection licence allowing it to do so,' Ms Howard said.

'A flood event in August 2012 then resulted in the collapse of part of the embankment surrounding the site which caused the cotton trash to discharge into the Namoi Gully and Namoi River.

'Although there was no actual environmental harm, the cotton trash had the potential to impact on the health of the aquatic environment as well as on downstream users.

'For these reasons, as well as the fact that Namoi Cotton deposited cotton trash without holding a licence, the EPA has taken action to correct the situation and ensure that it does not happen again.

'Namoi Cotton co-operated with the investigation and responded promptly to an EPA issued Clean Up Notice to fix the broken embankment, cease all cotton trash transport to the land and engage a contractor to clean up the Namoi Gully and Namoi River.

'This Enforceable Undertaking will further ensure that appropriate steps are taken within Namoi Cotton’s processes and operations to ensure that this type of environmental incident does not reoccur.'


AGL signs an Enforceable Undertaking to address licence non-compliances

Media release: 9 August 2013

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has considered and agreed to a proposal from AGL for an Enforceable Undertaking (EU). Investigations by the EPA indicated that AGL had not complied with several Environment Protection Licence (EPL) conditions in relation to the continuous monitoring of air emissions between 2009 to 2012.

The EPA’s Chief Environmental Regulator, Mark Gifford said the licence non-compliances were first reported to EPA by AGL in Mid 2012 when the EPA tightened laws which required companies to publicly report all monitoring data collected under an EPL.

'The licence non-compliances relate to failure to maintain and operate equipment; failure to continuously monitor emissions; and failure to meet proper sampling requirements to monitor concentrations of pollutants discharged.

'The EPA considers an EU is an appropriate enforcement response in this instance rather than prosecution because it will achieve an effective and long term resolution and more directly benefits the environment and community.

'AGL holds an Environment Protection Licence issued by the EPA for the Rosalind Park Gas Plant which forms part of the Camden Gas Scheme.'

'AGL is required to continuously monitor and report on their emissions. Whilst full continuous monitoring for Nitrogen Oxides did not occur between 2009 and 2012, quarterly stack testing was conducted in accordance with the EPL. The quarterly results show compliance with the tight licence limits.

'AGL has stated that the cause was due to oversight combined with a lack of understanding by staff. AGL has already implemented various measures to prevent a recurrence.

'Whilst the AGL non-compliances with licence conditions did not cause a significant impact on the environment, it is vital that the community and government have accurate and reliable information about its emissions.

'The EU is a public and legally binding written agreement to address poor conduct put forward by a Company to the regulator as an alternative to prosecution. The EU recognises that AGL has taken active responsibility for the offence and implemented all necessary measures to address licence breaches.

The EU contains a detailed description of the non-compliances that concerned the EPA, AGL’s acknowledgement of these and the actions taken to address the licence non-compliances. These actions include the installation of new air monitoring equipment, a detailed review of air monitoring requirements and changes to reporting and auditing systems.

The EU requires AGL to pay $150,000 to a 'Love Your Lagoons' environmental education and management project in the local area that will be implemented by the University of Western Sydney. AGL will also pay the EPA’s investigation and legal costs totalling $10,000. These payments are over and above the costs to AGL to bring the premises back into compliance with licence requirements.

The environmental enhancement component of the EU was proposed by AGL and developed in consultation with the AGL Community Consultative Committee.

The EPA takes all non-compliances seriously and our regulatory decisions are guided by the principles outlined in the EPA Prosecution Guidelines.


Enforceable Undertaking ensures $100,000 for environmental works in Wollongong

Media release: 19 December 2012

As a result of a pollution incident by rail-based coal haulage company Pacific National an EPA Enforceable Undertaking (EU) has committed the company to give $100,000 to support environmental works in Tom Thumb Lagoon and Wollongong City Greenhouse Park.

The Port Kembla based operation will be required to give $50,000 to non-profit organisation Conservation Volunteers Australia and a further $50,000 to Wollongong City Council, for environmental and education work at Tom Thumb Lagoon and Greenhouse Park.

The EU also requires Pacific National to develop an ‘Environmental Impacts and Aspects Assessment Report’ that prioritises actions to improve environmental performance across their statewide operations, and to report on progress to the EPA every six months in relation to their Port Kembla operations.

EPA Chief Environmental Regulator Mark Gifford said that the EU followed an investigation into an oily water spill from the Port Kembla premises on 12 December 2011.

“An EPA investigation found that about 500 litres of oily water had spilled into a remnant wetland that provides habitat for a range of birds and animals including migratory birds protected under international agreements and threatened species,” Mr Gifford said.

“The quick notification and response of Pacific National enabled the placement of booms to prevent leakage into nearby waterways and investigation into the source of the spill, which resulted in minimal risk of harm to human health or the environment.

“Investigations by the company found that the spill was the result of a previously unknown stormwater connection from an old decommissioned oil separator sump onsite that has since been disconnected.

“To minimise the risk of reoccurrence Pacific National also initiated a protocol at its Port Kembla site to ensure regular inspections of the sump for potential leaks and improved maintenance programs.”

Mr Gifford said that after taking into account the nature of the incident, the low environmental impact and the company’s response to date, an EU was determined to be the best regulatory response.

“The EPA believes that the EU provides outcomes that deliver environmental improvements to Pacific National’s Port Kembla operations as well as assisting other organisations to deliver conservation programs and educational work in the area,” Mr Gifford said.

“The EPA considers this outcome to be the best result for the environment and the community.”


Xstrata to make amends after pollution incident

Media release: 25 February 2011

Xstrata Mangoola Pty Ltd has agreed to pay $100,000 to help improve land and water quality in the Hunter River catchment. This follows an incident where 46 megalitres of sediment laden water were released into Wybong Creek from the Xstrata coal mine at Wybong, west of Muswellbrook, in February 2010.

As part of an enforceable undertaking Xstrata will contribute funding to the Hunter-Central Rivers Catchment Management Authority following an investigation by the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (DECCW).

DECCW Officers found that following heavy rain, dirty water discharged into the creek because Xstrata had not finished constructing a dam to hold the sediment laden run-off water.

DECCW Director North East, Gary Davey, said discharge of dirty water can be contrary to a condition of the Environment Protection Licence held by Xstrata.

'The funds will be used for environmental improvements to the Maison Dieu Travelling Stock Reserve, near Singleton, for the next ten years,' Mr Davey said.

“The stock route has historically been subject to grazing practices and substantial clearing. It is also exhibiting widespread gully and sheet erosion, resulting in loss of soil and high sediment loads being transported to Rixs' Creek and the Hunter River.

“The planned work will also support the regeneration of remnants of two Endangered Ecological Communities believed to be on the site.

'Projects to be undertaken include erosion control, fencing and weed control. An Aboriginal cultural heritage study will also be undertaken.

'Since the incident, Xstrata has voluntarily initiated measures to ensure that incidents of this nature should not occur in the future.

'This includes reviewing the site sedimentation and erosion control plan, training for staff and an approvals process for construction tasks involving the transfer or release of water on or off the site.'


Eden sewage spill - Tenix and Council make amends

2 November 2010

Having acknowledged their role in a pollution incident, Tenix Australia Pty Ltd and Bega Valley Shire Council have agreed that together they will contribute $120,000 to environmental rehabilitation works along the Pambula River.

In late October 2009, millions of litres of partially treated sewage was released into Twofold Bay from the Eden sewage treatment plant during regular maintenance works. At the time and as a precaution, Council closed nearby beaches.

The incident did not cause any discernible environmental harm.

Tenix operates the Eden Sewage Treatment Plant on behalf of Council.

DECCW Director-General, Lisa Corbyn, said today that both Tenix and Council co-operated fully with DECCW’s investigation into the incident, including undertaking an audit to determine how to avoid such incidents in the future.

Tenix has also agreed to take considerable steps to prevent a repeat of this incident in the future.

Following DECCW’s investigation into this incident Tenix and Council made many improvements which will do a lot to prevent this happening again.

Tenix and Council offered to make amends by giving an enforceable undertaking to DECCW requiring works to improve the environmental performance of the Eden sewage treatment plant and to pay $120,000 towards rehabilitation works on the Pambula River.

DECCW accepted the enforceable undertaking requiring Tenix to pay $100,000 and Council to pay $20,000 towards the rehabilitation works.

Amongst other things, the works will involve improving alarm systems, modifying standard operating procedures and improving dissolved oxygen control.

The Eden community would have been rightly concerned by the potential impact of this event on the health of Twofold Bay.

'Fortunately, tests have shown that there was no discernible harm to the environment,' Ms Corbyn said.

Tenix and Council will also pay DECCW $20,000 towards its investigation and legal costs.


Kosciuszko Thredbo makes amends

19 August 2009

After admitting to having a role in a pollution incident in Kosciuszko National Park last year Kosciuszko Thredbo Pty Limited (KT) has agreed to invest $100,000 into rehabilitation work along the banks of the Thredbo River.

On August 16, 2008, between about 800 and 1200 litres of diesel overflowed from a header tank at the Thredbo ski resort operated by Kosciuszko Thredbo Pty Limited.

As a consequence a quantity of diesel entered the Thredbo River KT reported the incident when the spill was discovered that morning and undertook a number of clean up actions as a result of the diesel spill.

Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (DECCW), Director South, Gary Whytcross, said that KT cooperated with DECCW's investigation and frankly accepted it had a role in this incident.

'Accordingly KT offered to pay $100,000 for environmental rehabilitation works to make amends.

'DECCW accepted an 'enforceable undertaking' from KT requiring it to pay $100,000 to the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) to carry out rehabilitation works along a section of the Thredbo River within Kosciuszko National Park.

'This work will include the development of a rehabilitation plan for the river banks of a section of the river that addresses stream bank erosion control, weed management, revegetation and habitat restoration.

'This work will take place over a period of three years.

'KT will also pay for DECCW's legal and investigation costs which amount to $25,000,' Mr Whytcross said.


Leighton Contractors to make amends for stream pollution

22 July 2009

A company found responsible for discharging polluted water into a stream near Tarcutta during construction work on the Hume Highway has entered into an undertaking to enhance the environment around Tarcutta Creek by removing willows along a one kilometre stretch of it at a cost of $100,000.

Leighton Contractors Pty Limited was engaged in major road works on the Hume Highway south of Tarcutta in July last year when officers from the Department of Environment and Climate Change (DECC), passing through the area, noticed what appeared to be silt laden water being discharged into a creek.

On further inspection they found turbid water being discharged from two hoses connected to pumps about 100 metres apart that were being used to 'dewater' sediment control dams attached to the construction works. Water samples were collected and later found to be containing extremely high levels of silt in the waters being discharged.

DECC Director South, Gary Whytcross, said today that it was established that the suction hoses feeding the pumps had not been installed properly and were sucking mud from the bottom of the sediment dams rather than the layer of clear water above.

'This meant that water heavily laden with silt was being discharged into the local stream.

'This is clearly a breach of environmental rules. Pollution of our waterways is serious and Leighton Contractors understands the DECC's concerns and has implemented improvements to prevent a recurrence of the incident,' he said.

Mr Whytcross said that DECC had agreed to accept an enforceable undertaking by the company to make amends by carrying out works which will have a net benefit for the environment by removing the noxious willows.

'As part of this legal undertaking Leighton Contractors will provide the labour, plant and supervision valued at $100,000 to clear a kilometre stretch of willows along Tarcutta Creek as well as pay DECC's costs for the investigation estimated at around $15,000,' Mr Whytcross said.

'While the effects of the pollution incident were temporary with no long-term impact, the removal of the willows by Leighton Contractors will provide a lasting environmental benefit,' Mr Whytcross said.


Mato Investments to remedy environmental damage to Murray River

15 July 2008

A company which removed a large number of fallen trees and other woody debris - known as 'snags' - from the Murray River and other waterways near Corowa, has entered into an undertaking to remediate the damage.

Mato Investments has admitted it damaged the area during its development of an ecotourist resort at the Kunanadgee property. The company has now agreed to spend nearly $100,000 repairing the damage it caused.

A spokesperson for the Department of Environment and Climate Change, Gary Whytcross, said joint investigations between DECC and the Department of Primary Industries showed that approximately 400 snags had been dragged out of a four kilometre stretch of the Murray river, out of the Big River Billabong and an unnamed creek on the property.

'In addition, soil was deposited in wetland areas to create vehicle tracks, but in such a way that many tonnes of soil could be washed into the Murray River during rain.

'The snags are crucial breeding habitat of the Murray cod and trout cod, listed as threatened under both national and state legislation, and are a very important part of the river system, especially now when the river is under stress in many places.'

Mr Whytcross said Mato Investments had now signed an enforceable undertaking to re-snag the areas.

'We are very pleased that the company has agreed to make amends.'

'As a result of this undertaking we hope the damage can be reversed. The remediation of the site is a key outcome sought by both departments.'

'It's anticipated that the works will be completed by 31 August to avoid disturbance to the Murray cod during their breeding season from September to November.'


Delta Electricity to carry out $45,000 of environmental works under new enforceable undertaking powers

28 February 2008

The Department of Environment and Climate Change (DECC) has agreed to use new legal powers to deliver an enforceable undertaking from Delta Electricity for environmental works to the value of $45,000, following a discharge into an outlet canal at the Munmorah Power Station.

Delta Electricity offered the enforceable undertaking following DECC's investigation into a potential pollution incident on 16 February 2007 at Munmorah power station, Scenic Drive, Doyalson.

When the discharge occurred in 2007, Delta Electricity reported to DECC that a quantity of diluted sulphuric acid had flowed into an outlet canal at the power station, even though it did not reach the waters of Lake Budgewoi.

DECC Director General Lisa Corbyn said: 'Delta Electricity has acknowledged DECC's concerns about the incident and has implemented a number of measures to ensure that the incident cannot happen again'.

'These include undertaking a voluntary audit, commissioning an internal Committee of Inquiry, implementing their recommended action plan items, undertaking risk evaluations and changing works and systems as a result, installing new equipment and alarms systems and undertaking staff training.'

'As an added step, the company has undertaken to fund additional environmental measures including weed control and bush regeneration works at the Colongra Swamp Nature Reserve in Budgewoi costing $45,000.'

'These environmental measures, which are expected to be completed over three years and will be carried out by contractors, will be a real bonus to the surrounding environment.'

The works will include:

  • a site survey of the land resulting in the development of a weed species map, including an assessment of priority species for weed control; and
  • weed control and bush regeneration work.

'This is one of the first enforceable undertakings that DECC has considered under new legislative powers introduced in 2006. These environmental works will provide significant benefits for the environment and the local area at the Colongra Swamp Nature Reserve,' said Ms Corbyn.

Enforceable undertakings have been used successfully by a number of other agencies including the Australian Securities and Investments Commission and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. They provide a way of achieving tangible results quickly.

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