Crown Lands enters into Enforceable Undertaking following Belmore Basin sewage leak

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.