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Environment Protection Authority

EPA completes final inspection of Wollangambe River clean-up as prosecution against Clarence Colliery continues

Media release: 7 July 2016

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has completed the final inspection of Clarence Colliery's clean-up of the Wollangambe River, as the prosecution against the company continues in the Land and Environment Court.

The EPA commenced a Tier 1 prosecution against Clarence Colliery Pty Ltd in May this year following a serious environmental incident at the coal mine near Lithgow in July 2015.

EPA officers carried out the final inspection on 29 June and on 5 July 2016 confirmed that conditions of the Clean-Up Notice had been met. The EPA has now advised Clarence Colliery that the clean-up operation of the Wollangambe River can cease.

The company is now required to carry out a monitoring program of the Wollangambe River for two and half years to assess the recovery of the river environment.

The EPA’s Regional Manager Central West, Richard Whyte said the EPA will be keeping a close eye on these results and will not hesitate to require additional clean-up or rehabilitation work if needed.

The EPA has carried out 44 inspections since the incident.

“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,” Mr Whyte said.

“To ensure the environment is protected, the EPA required Clarence Colliery to carefully and systematically remove the coal fines using manual techniques.”

A total of 214 tonnes of coal fines have been removed by hand and the company has made more than 700 trips in a helicopter to airlift bulka bags of coal fines out of the Blue Mountains National Park.

The case is next due in court on 12 August 2016.

ENDS 

Contact: Public Affairs

Page last updated: 07 July 2016