The Big Picture - around the regions
In this edition of EPA Connect we start a round-up of things happening around the state from a sunken barge rescue in the north to a rapid response to a solvent spill in the south.
The EPA helped stem the risk of damage to the environment from the Bellinger River barge incident
Sunken barge rescue on the Bellinger River
The EPA responded quickly to a Fire and Rescue NSW call-out in May to an incident involving a sunken dredge in the Bellinger River, with fears of contamination for nearby oyster farms.
EPA Senior Operations Officer Scott Ensbey based in Coffs Harbour outlined their concerns for the environment near the town of Raleigh.
“A sunken dredge has the potential to cause significant harm to water quality, oyster growers and public safety. The EPA notified the local oyster growers coordinator immediately and then went on to work with Fire and Rescue NSW and Transport for NSW (Maritime) to ensure pollution controls were effective,” Scott said.
“We worked closely with NSW Maritime from the very start. This included their input into the EPA Clean-up Notice issued to the barge owner requiring the containment of pollutants, regular monitoring, and removal of the vessel from the river in a timely manner.”
Rapid response prevents spill reaching lake
The EPA inspects the spill
A rapid cross-border, multi-agency clean-up response led by the NSW EPA prevented a large amount of liquid solvent from reaching Lake Burley Griffin in Canberra.
“The response is a great demonstration of how multiple teams from across the EPA, a regional council and other agencies from the NSW and ACT governments can come together quickly and deliver a fantastic outcome for the environment,” EPA Regional Operations Manager Nigel Sargent said.
The alleged solvent spill was from industrial premises in Queanbeyan that entered a stormwater drain. The drain discharges into the Molonglo River which then flows into Lake Burley Griffin.
Staff from the NSW EPA, ACT EPA, Fire and Rescue NSW, Fire and Rescue ACT and the Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council all worked together to install multiple lines of pollution control. Controls limited the movement of the solvent and ensured downstream water users and Lake Burley Griffin were not impacted.
More than $1 million to clean up and tackle illegal dumping on Aboriginal land
Thirteen Local Aboriginal Land Councils have been awarded a total of $1,092,270 for community waste projects to clean up and prevent illegal dumping on their land.
EPA Executive Director Regulatory Operations Regional Carmen Dwyer said many Aboriginal communities faced barriers to disposing of waste and rubbish due to lack of services, resources and limited access to waste management facilities.
“Previous projects include revegetating an historic campground, removing asbestos waste and tackling bulky waste and litter in a variety of unique ways, including cleaning out a dam to restock with fish,” Carmen said.
“Illegal dumping of waste is a common problem and these grants will help make a big difference to local communities – this funding will help Local Aboriginal Land Councils tackle issues in their areas.”
Cowra, Dubbo, Worimi, Illawarra, Mindaribba, Wanaruah, Ngambri, Tibooburra, Amaroo, Cobowra and Menindee Local Aboriginal Land Councils have been awarded a total of $692,270 from the EPA Aboriginal Land Clean Up and Prevention (ALCUP) program. Moree, Amaroo and Walgett Local Aboriginal Land Councils have been granted a total of $400,000 under the Aboriginal Communities Waste Management Program (ACWMP).