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Environment Protection Authority

EPA directs Hawkesbury Council to audit Windsor sewage treatment plant

Media release: 2 February 2016

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has directed Hawkesbury City Council to undertake a mandatory environmental audit of its sewage treatment plant at Windsor, following two incidents breaching its Environment Protection Licence, in July and August 2015.

Both pollution incidents were reported to the EPA by Hawkesbury City Council, and the July 2015 incident was also reported by a member of the public.

EPA Director Metropolitan, Greg Sheehy, said the pollution incidents related to the discharge of sewage sludge and effluent to the environment.

“It is crucial that the sewage treatment plant operates in compliance with the licence at all times. Sewage sludge and effluent need to be properly managed to safeguard the environment and human health,” Mr Sheehy said.

“This audit will look at the adequacy of the systems, procedures, practices and training in place at the sewage treatment plant.

“It will also identify any deficiencies in the current operations that may have contributed to the incidents, and make recommendations for how things should be improved.

“Hawkesbury Council will have six months to submit a copy of the auditor’s report for the EPA to review, and a summary of the final report, including conclusions or recommendations, will be made available on the EPA Public register.”

The audit will be carried out by an independent qualified environmental auditor approved by the EPA.

Following the delivery of the final report, the EPA may undertake further regulatory action as its investigations into the incidents continue.

Mandatory audits are just one regulatory tool the EPA uses to achieved environmental compliance and improve a licensee’s performance. Others include penalty notices, formal warning, additional licence conditions, notice and directions, enforceable undertaking, legally binding pollution reduction programs and prosecutions.

For more information see the EPA Compliance Policy at www.epa.nsw.gov.au/legislation/130251epacompl.htm

Contact: Public Affairs

Page last updated: 02 February 2016