EPA fines Narrabri Council $15,000 for non-compliance

Narrabri Shire Council has been issued a $15,000 fine by the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) for failing to adequately maintain the Narrabri Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) as required by its Environment Protection Licence.

The EPA inspected the STP in February 2018 and identified a number of infrastructure maintenance issues. As a result, the EPA issued Narrabri Shire Council with a penalty notice for allegedly failing to comply with their Environment Protection Licence.

EPA Manager of Regional Operations Armidale Lindsay Fulloon said it was essential Narrabri Council maintained equipment at the STP in a proper and efficient manner.

“This alleged failure resulted in partially treated effluent and liquid waste leaking from filter tanks onto the STP site,” Mr Fulloon said.

“Council completed temporary rectification works to prevent any further leaks following the EPA inspection of the STP.

“Council are currently working to address the long-term issues identified during the inspection and have engaged specialist consultants to correct these matters.”

The EPA has also imposed a pollution reduction program on the Environment Protection Licence for the STP, requiring upgrades to the plant. Council is working with the Department of Primary Industries Water and the EPA to progress these works.

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.

The maximum penalty for not complying with a condition of an Environment Protection Licence is a court imposed fine of $1 million for a corporation and $120,000 each day the offence continues.

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