Healthy Environment, Healthy Community, Healthy Business

Environment Protection Authority

Uralla Shire Council and Namoi Mining fined $15,000 each

Media release: 31 May 2017

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has issued fines of $15,000 to both the Uralla Shire Council and Namoi Mining after rain in August and September last year resulted in polluted stormwater being discharged into local waterways from the Uralla Landfill and Gunnedah Colliery. 

EPA Regional Manager Lindsay Fulloon said both incidents were preventable with better onsite management.

“With the right checks in place and better onsite management the incidents would have been prevented,” he said.

“The overflows of polluted water were diluted by rainfall and high flows in the waterways which fortunately reduced the potential for impacts on the environment.”

Uralla Shire Council fined $15,000
The EPA fined the Uralla Shire Council after the leachate dam at the Uralla Landfill overflowed into a tributary of Kentucky Creek on two occasions in August and September last year.

Leachate levels are managed by irrigating leachate onto the landfill surface. The EPA’s investigation found that prior to the incidents, insufficient irrigation had occurred, reducing the capacity of the dam to capture and contain leachate following rainfall events.

Mr Fulloon said since the incidents, Uralla Shire Council has introduced a number of improvements to better manage leachate and stormwater at the landfill, including earthworks to separate clean stormwater runoff from the catchment of the leachate dam.

“The Council reported the incident to the EPA and has worked cooperatively with the EPA throughout the investigation. The Council has also made significant improvements at the landfill site.

“This penalty serves as a reminder to all licence holders that they must comply with the requirements of Environment Protection Licence conditions at all times,” Mr Fulloon said. 

Namoi Mining fined $15,000

The EPA fined Namoi Mining, part of the Whitehaven Coal group, after stormwater contaminated with coal discharged from the Gunnedah Colliery to the local environment after rain in September last year.

An EPA officer inspected the site after the company reported the discharge to the EPA.

Mr Fulloon said contaminated stormwater flowed over a contour bank designed to convey stormwater runoff from the reject coal emplacement area to a holding dam on the premises.

“The bank failed to contain the stormwater runoff after heavy rainfall in the area, causing it to overflow. The polluted water travelled through a rural residential area and into an intermittent drainage line downstream of the premises.

“Since the incident, Namoi Mining has repaired and improved the bank to prevent further discharges. The EPA is also issuing a Pollution Reduction Program to the company requiring it to review systems at the site to improve the management of stormwater,” Mr Fulloon said.

Contact: EPA Public Affairs

Page last updated: 31 May 2017