Sydney Water ordered to pay $200,000 for polluting creek
Sydney Water Corporation has been convicted and fined $200,000 in the Land and Environment Court of NSW after 282,000 litres of raw sewage discharged into Prospect Creek.
The sewage escaped from a nearby pumping station at Carrawood Reserve in Carramar that needed to be shut down in order to repair the split rising main.
NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) Executive Director Regulatory Operations, Steve Beaman said the spill was the equivalent of four and a half average backyard swimming pools.
“This was a significant amount of raw sewage entering a local waterway that runs for more than 25 km,” Mr Beaman said.
“As a result of the overflow, the creek was discoloured, marine habitats were impacted and an unpleasant sewage odour was experienced by the surrounding communities.
“Our EPA officers found that the sewage degraded up to 5km of the Prospect Creek for at least six days.
“Water testing revealed high levels of ammonia in several locations which can be detrimental for aquatic life.
“This result serves as an important reminder to all licensees to ensure their infrastructure is appropriately managed and upgraded when necessary.
“We want to protect and restore our local waterways and incidents like this can have long lasting impacts.”
$45,000 of the penalty is to be paid to Fairfield City Council for an environmental project at Quest Avenue, Carramar, which seeks to improve the quality of stormwater entering Prospect Creek.
Sydney Water was also ordered to pay the EPA’s investigation and legal costs, publish details of the conviction in the Daily Telegraph and on its social media accounts.
Sydney Water was also ordered to provide a letter to local residents which outlines the court order and incident, as well as apologising for the overflow and any inconvenience caused.
The EPA encourages the community to report potential water pollution incidents to the Environment Line on 131 555.
For more information about the EPA’s regulatory tools, see the EPA Compliance Policy at www.epa.nsw.gov.au/legislation/prosguid.htm