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

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.  

A copy of the Enforceable Undertaking can be viewed on the EPA website at the following address www.epa.nsw.gov.au/prpoeoapp/searchenforceableundertaking.aspx