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Environment Protection Authority

EPA continues investigation into dam overflows at Bengalla coal mine

Media release: 20 January 2016

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) is continuing its investigation of two dam overflows at the Bengalla coal mine near Muswellbrook, following recent heavy rain across the Hunter region.

EPA officers were onsite on Monday to carry out an inspection, conduct interviews with personnel at the mine and gather samples for testing.

EPA Hunter Manager, Adam Gilligan said the overflow had stopped prior to the EPA officers arriving on site.

“The exact quantity of material that may have overflowed from the dams is still unknown at this stage.”

“There is no evidence, at this stage of ongoing water pollution,” Mr Gilligan said

“The EPA has collected samples of water and sediment for testing, as part of our investigation.”

When EPA officers arrived onsite on Monday work was already underway to pump water and sediment from the dams into an alternative system onsite.

This work was aimed at reducing the likelihood of another overflow if there was more heavy rain in the area.

The EPA will also request additional information from the mine operator, Bengalla Mining Company Pty Limited, including monitoring records and details of the incident response.

This information will be an important part of the EPA’s investigations into whether there have been any breaches of the mine’s environment protection licence or environmental legislation.

END

Contact: Public Affairs

Page last updated: 20 January 2016