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Environment Protection Authority

Lake Macquarie City Council fined for chlorine discharge from Wallsend Swim Centre

Media release: 10 August 2017

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has issued Lake Macquarie City Council with a $15,000 fine following a chlorinated water discharge into a  creek.

The incident on 29 April 2017 at the West Wallsend Swim Centre saw up to 16,380 litres of super chlorinated water discharged into the adjoining creek.

Fire and Rescue NSW HAZMAT crew members attended the incident to assist council employees with the clean-up.

Swim Centre staff who witnessed the incident said the discharge occurred due to a failure with a backwash pit pump which should have pumped the contents of the backwash pit to the sewerage system.

Karen Marler, EPA’s Director Hunter, said the incident was caused by the failure of the backwash pit pump to activate.

“Council was aware that the pump was not operating properly, but decided not to take action to fix it as it was seen as a low priority. The pump subsequently failed and caused the discharge.

“The EPA recognises the pollution discharge was not intentional, however it was the result of Council’s failure to maintain its pumping equipment. 

Lake Macquarie City Council was swift to respond to the incident and ensure appropriate clean up and restoration of the creek and has now replaced the faulty pumping equipment”. 

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 at http://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/legislation/prosguid.htm

Contact: EPA Public Affairs

Page last updated: 10 August 2017