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Environment Protection Authority

Road Construction contractor fined $15,000 for water pollution at Frenchs Forest

Media release: 21 September 2016

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has issued a $15,000 fine to Ferrovial Agroman (Australia) Pty Ltd for water pollution, after sediment laden waters flowed into the Trefoil Creek from the road construction site of the Northern Beaches Hospital Connectivity and Network Enhancement Project in Frenchs Forest.

Ferrovial Agroman are the major partner of a joint venture with York Civil Pty Ltd for the Northern Beaches Hospital Connectivity and Network Enhancement Project - the Ferrovial York Joint Venture. As the minor project partner York Civil received an official caution for the water pollution incident.

EPA Director Metropolitan Giselle Howard said companies have a responsibility to ensure all works by subcontractors are undertaken in accordance with the company’s environment protection licence and measures are taken to prevent pollution.

"A subcontractor was drilling at the construction site to relocate telecommunications cables on 22 April 2016 when the drilling struck a redundant stormwater drain.

"An estimated 12,000 litres of drilling mud then left the construction site through the stormwater drain and flowed onto bushland and Trefoil Creek, impacting the local environment.

"The EPA required the company to clean up sediment from the local bushland and the creek and take required actions to prevent any further pollution.

"The subcontractor and Ferrovial York undertook works to seal the redundant stormwater pipe so that drilling works could recommence without causing further pollution.

"However, on the 5 May the EPA was informed that the sealing of the stormwater pipe partially failed and approximately 2,000 litres of additional drilling mud flowed into Trefoil Creek.

"The EPA again required the companies to clean up the sediment from the local bushland and the creek and this was promptly undertaken.

"The EPA does not believe that adequate measures were taken, following the initial incident, to prevent a reoccurrence of drilling mud discharge to Trefoil Creek and issued a penalty notice."

The Ferrovial York Joint Venture holds an environment protection licence issued by the EPA for this project. This licence does not permit pollution of waters. The $15,000 penalty notice was issued on 2 September 2016 for the breach of this licence.

Penalty Notices are one of a number of tools the EPA can use to achieve environmental compliance including formal warnings, official cautions, licence conditions, notices and directions and prosecutions.

The EPA takes a range of factors into account before delivering a proportionate regulatory response including the degree of environmental harm, whether or not there are any real or potential health impacts, if the action of the offender was deliberate, compliance history, public interest and best environmental outcomes.

For more information about the EPA's regulatory tools, see the EPA Compliance Policy http://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/legislation/prosguid.htm

Contact: Public Affairs

Page last updated: 23 September 2016