Community news updates

Community updates on issues currently being managed by the EPA.

EPA officer making an inspection in the field

Minchinbury odours investigation

The EPA has launched a campaign to identify and mitigate odour sources in the Minchinbury/Eastern Creek area in response to community concerns.

We have received a recent spike in reports to our Environment Line with an increase in community complaints registered since April 1. We recognise this issue is impacting residents and we are responding as a priority.

The EPA has engaged independent odour specialists to assist with the campaign which will run until the end of May. The odour specialists, along with authorised EPA officers, will be out and about visiting the areas from where complaints are received. These will include both evening and early morning visits. The odour specialists will help us detect the type of odour, as well as its intensity and frequency. 

The campaign will also involve inspections of EPA licensed facilities in the Minchinbury/ Eastern Creek area and regular and unannounced odour assessments. These actions will be used to inform any practicable odour mitigation strategies.

A similar campaign is underway in the Spring Farm/Camden area, which is also known to experience recurring odour issues at this time of year.

During Autumn a temperature inversion across the Sydney Basin can trap odours close to the ground. The odours can travel long distances under light breezes before being diluted.

Significant rainfall can also exacerbate odour issues.

If you are experiencing odour impacts please contact the EPA’s Environment Line on 131 555.

The EPA will keep the community updated via our website and social media channels.

Kembla Grange odours investigation

aerial view of kembla grange

The EPA has placed new requirements on two separate facilities to undertake a thorough assessment of their odour emissions in the Kembla Grange, Farmborough Heights area. Details of these requirements may be found on the Public Register on our website.

The assessments are required to be carried out by a suitably qualified and experienced odour specialist.

The EPA has asked for the results of these assessments by 30 April 2021.

The EPA will then review the outcomes and recommendations provided in these assessments and determine the next steps to ensure odour management measures are appropriate and effective at each of these facilities.

Captains Flat lead investigation

EPA car outside Captains Flat community centre

The EPA, NSW Health, Regional NSW, Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council and other NSW Government agencies are working together at the township of Captains Flat to investigate for high levels of lead, beyond the former Lake George Mine site.

This is precautionary testing in public and community spaces and follows Transport for NSW detecting historical contamination in the rail corridor adjacent to the old Lake George Captains Flat Mine site, at high levels.

  • The EPA has undertaken 80 tests of soil for levels of lead in the township’s road reserves, parks and school, and will share the results with the community.
  • The EPA has also offered soil testing to residents on their own properties.
  • See more information about lead testing in Captains Flat.

Truegain, Rutherford site management

aerial view of the Truegain site

The EPA continues to pursue the owners of the Truegain site, requiring them to manage the site in a way that prevents any offsite pollution.

The EPA has commenced various legal proceedings against the owner, including for allegedly failing to comply with a Clean-Up Notice and Cost Compliance notices.

On 23 February 2021, former director of Truegain Mr Robert Pullinger was convicted and fined in Parramatta Local Court following prosecution by the EPA for providing false information to the EPA and failing to comply with statutory notices to provide information. Mr Pullinger pleaded guilty to the offences.

Proceedings have also commenced against the owner for allegedly failing to comply with a Prohibition Notice issued by the Minister. These proceedings are currently before the courts.

While the court proceedings continue, the EPA has had installed an on-site collection system that allows contaminated water to be collected and disposed of safely. The system is remotely monitored to manage expected and unexpected rainfall events.

This improves on the previous management system where EPA staff regularly inspected the site while also monitoring the weather for predicted heavy rainfall.

The EPA and Fire and Rescue NSW have inspected the laboratory and office building at the front of the site and removed all chemicals from the building for disposal.

The EPA has contacted the owner requiring them to undertake further works to secure the site.

The EPA is currently exploring options for a medium to long-term solution for the Truegain site, which has been abandoned since 2016.

The objective of the project is to reduce any risks to human health and the environment’.

 The tender process has now closed and is being evaluated.

Forestry operations update

The EPA has been advised by Forestry Corporation of NSW (FCNSW) that they will shortly revert to operating under the standard forestry rules, meaning logging in new compartments will not use special site specific conditions put in place to protect burnt forests, following the 2019/20 bushfires.

Based on expert advice and the literature the EPA regards site specific conditions as the most effective way of managing the environmental risks associated with harvesting in landscapes that have been so extensively and severely impacted by fire.

Designed following consultation with experts and government agencies, specific conditions aim to mitigate the environmental risks caused by the bushfires and are tailored for the specific impacts on plants, animals and their habitats, soils and waterways at each site.