EPA fines AGL after slurry overflow

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has fined AGL Macquarie Pty Limited $15,000 after slurry overflowed from ash dam infrastructure at the Liddell Power Station in March this year.

The EPA’s Director Hunter Karen Marler said that a number of issues, including a pump failure while transferring fly ash from the power station to the ash dam, allegedly caused the ash slurry to overflow and drain to an area of sensitive vegetation on site.

“The overflow consisted of a mixture of water and fly-ash as a slurry, which overflowed across an internal road and down an embankment into a vegetated area that contains Central Hunter Box - Ironbark Woodland, classed as an Endangered Ecological Community in NSW.

“AGL Macquarie has a responsibility to ensure that activities occurring onsite are undertaken in a competent manner and that equipment is properly operated and maintained to prevent incidents such as this,” Mrs Marler said.

Since the incident, AGL has made changes to its operations to prevent a reoccurrence and has progressively cleaned up the affected area.

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

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