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Environment Protection Authority

EPA fines High Quality Sands Pty Limited $15,000

Media release: 21 March 2016

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has issued a $15,000 penalty notice to High Quality Sands Pty Limited for extracting sand from the Bellinger River without holding an environment protection licence.

 EPA Manager North Coast Region, Brett Nudd, said High Quality Sands first came to the EPA’s attention in October 2015 following a council report.

 “The EPA’s investigation revealed that the company had extracted over 54,000 cubic metres of material during 2013/2014 and over 80,000 cubic metres of material during 2014/2015. This was above the threshold permitted and triggered the requirement for a licence from the EPA during these periods.”

 “It is a requirement for operators who extract more than 30,000 cubic metres of material per annum from water-based extractive activities to hold an environment protection licence. Environment protection licences include strict, legally enforceable conditions that are designed to protect the environment and the community. By issuing a licence the EPA can set standards and monitor environmental performance to ensure the activity does not result in pollution of the local environment. 

 “As a result of the EPA’s investigation, a penalty notice was issued for the 2014/2015 period with an Official Caution issued for the 2013/2014 period. 

 “The EPA takes a range of factors into account before delivering a regulatory response. We consider the degree of environmental harm, potential health impacts, and public interest.

 “Sand extraction has the potential to cause impacts on water quality.  For this reason, it is important that it is properly monitored and regulated.

 The EPA has now completed regulatory action against a number of operators on the Mid North Coast for exceeding extraction limits.

 “We remind all operators of the importance of carefully monitoring the volume of material they are producing and ensuring that they have an environment protection licence if necessary. Operators must also ensure that they are complying with their licence conditions," said Mr Nudd.                                                                      

Since being made aware of the requirement High Quality Sands has obtained a licence from the EPA and recommenced operations on 15 December 2015. 

Contact: EPA Public Affairs Officer

Page last updated: 21 March 2016