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Environment Protection Authority

Sydney Water fined $15,000 for Tahmoor sewage overflow

Media release: 22 February 2017

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has issued Sydney Water with a fine of $15,000 after 90,000 litres of raw sewage was discharged from a pumping station at Tahmoor, near Picton, into a local creek.

Sewage overflowed from the pumping station into the nearby Myrtle Creek in July 2016, as a result of a pump failing and the temporary backup pump not having the capacity to cope with the incoming sewage flow. The sewage overflow lasted approximately 11 hours.

EPA Acting Regional Director Metropolitan Mike Sharpin said while Sydney Water installed a second backup pump and arranged tankers to collect sewage from the pumping station, this was insufficient to stop a second smaller overflow occurring the next day.

“Sydney Water tried to minimise the impact of the overflow by damming and manually cleaning up the creek, but our monitoring results showed that Myrtle Creek was heavily impacted by the overflow,’ Mr Sharpin said.

“While the environmental impacts were contained, the overflow itself was preventable.

“The backup pump and contingency actions were not enough to cope with the incoming sewage.

“Sydney Water’s Environment Protection Licence prohibits overflows from sewage pumping stations in dry weather, and on this occasion they weren’t compliant.”

Sydney Water has since undertaken clean up works to the satisfaction of the EPA and implemented strategies to reduce the risk of further overflows from this pumping station.

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

 

Contact: EPA Public Affairs

Page last updated: 22 February 2017