EPA fines power station operator for alleged water pollution

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has fined AGL Macquarie Pty Limited $15,000 for an alleged water pollution offence at its Bayswater Power Station.

The offence was for a discharge of fly ash slurry into Bayswater Creek from a leak in a pipeline at the power station.

Contractors monitoring the pumping of fly ash noticed a drop in flow rate on 5 April 2021 and immediately ceased pumping fly ash.

Their investigation identified that a hole had developed in the ash transfer pipeline, causing the discharge of the slurry overland and into the creek.

Power station staff notified the EPA of the incident and cleaned the material up.

EPA Director Regulatory Operations North Adam Gilligan said the incident had the potential to cause environmental harm.

“Fly ash slurry deposited over vegetation and settled out in Bayswater Creek which was running at the time following rain.

“This incident was similar, but smaller in scale, to an event in 2019 for which AGL Macquarie has entered into an enforceable undertaking.

“Under the enforceable undertaking, AGL Macquarie is continuing to assess and monitor the condition of the pipeline and has committed to replacing the aging pipeline,” Mr Gilligan said.

“AGL Macquarie has applied for development consent to replace the pipeline. The EPA is continuing to work with the company to identify ways to better manage the pipeline and prevent further incidents.”

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.

For more information about the EPA’s regulatory tools, see the EPA Compliance Policy on the EPA website.