Healthy Environment, Healthy Community, Healthy Business

Environment Protection Authority

EPA continues to closely monitor Wollangambe River clean-up

Media release: 15 March 2016

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) is continuing to carry out regular inspections of the clean-up of the Wollangambe River, following the serious environmental incident at the Centennial Coal Clarence Colliery near Lithgow in July last year.

To date, the EPA has carried out 39 inspections of the incident site and of the Wollangambe River, with a total of 196 tonnes of coal fines removed from the river bed and banks since August 2015.

The EPA’s Director South, Gary Whytcross said the remote and sensitive nature of the local environment has meant the clean-up has been a complex and challenging operation.

“The focus of the EPA’s inspection program has been on making sure the clean-up is not causing further damage to the Wollangambe River and the aquatic ecosystem.

“To ensure the environment is protected, the EPA has required Centennial Coal to carefully and systematically remove the coal fines using manual techniques. The company has also carried out over 620 helicopter trips to airlift bulka bags of coal fines out of the National Park.”

The bulk of the coal fines have now been removed where it is possible to do so and the EPA is satisfied with the clean-up to date. The EPA expects the clean-up to be completed in April.

In addition to monitoring the clean-up, the EPA has also inspected the rehabilitation work along the affected drainage line. New plants were observed growing in the area between the mine and the river, during an inspection on February 18 and the EPA is satisfied with how the area is recovering.

Centennial Coal will be required to undertake ongoing monitoring of the river, as part of the EPA’s clean-up program.

The EPA’s comprehensive legal investigation into the incident is continuing.

Anyone with information which they believe may be useful to the investigation is encouraged to contact the EPA’s 24hour Environment Line on 131 555 or via www.epa.nsw.gov.au

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Contact: Public Affairs

Page last updated: 15 March 2016