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Environment Protection Authority

Hawkesbury City Council to pay $175,000 fine

Media release: 28 April 2017

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has welcomed the decision by the Land and Environment Court to fine Hawkesbury City Council $175,000 for three environmental offences. The penalty will be put towards pollution reduction at Windsor Downs Nature Reserve.

In July and August 2015 more than half a million litres of partially-treated sewage sludge was discharged from the South Windsor Sewage Treatment Plant, entering a nearby nature reserve and creek causing significant short-term harm to the environment.

EPA Chair and CEO Barry Buffier said it was disappointing the incident had occurred but it was good news that the penalty would be reinvested into an environmental protection project.

“The EPA works to protect the environment and we have held the council to account for the damage they have caused Mr Buffier said.

“This significant fine will mean that a gross pollution trap can be installed at the Windsor Nature Reserve to treat stormwater before it reaches fragile waterways downstream.”

National Parks and Wildlife Service Acting Area Manager Steve Chapple thanked the EPA for persisting in the Land and Environment Court and welcomed the news.

“This is a great win for our National Parks assets - the nature reserve and nearby waterways,” Mr Chapple said.

“The pollution trap will not only help to stop litter and pollution spreading, it will also reduce the amount of weed, which impacts other vegetation in the area, being swept into our streams.”

In making its decision, the Court took into account that $293,000 had already been spent by Council cleaning up after the incident.  

 The Court also ordered Council to publish details of the offences in the Hawkesbury Gazette and Western Weekender, and to pay the EPA’s legal and investigation costs of $94,529.30.

Contact: EPA Public Affairs

Page last updated: 28 April 2017