Healthy Environment, Healthy Community, Healthy Business

Environment Protection Authority

HV Operations fined for polluting a Hunter Valley creek

Media release: 28 August 2017

The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has issued a $15,000 fine to HV Operations Pty Ltd for polluting Bayswater Creek in the Hunter Valley.

HV Operations self-reported the incident to the EPA’s Environment Line after a sediment sump discharged from its coal loading facilities into Bayswater Creek at Liddell on 30 March 2017.

It’s believed that the coal loading facility’s sediment sump overflowed resulting in 240 kilolitres of water containing sediment to runoff into the nearby waterway.

Mitchell Bennett, EPA’s Acting Director for the Hunter, said HV Operations had previously identified the sediment sump as a potential runoff risk and had obtained development approval to construct a larger sediment basin.

“The company had not put in place practical measures to mitigate discharge to water from the sediment sump in the period prior to commissioning of the sediment basin,” Mr Bennett said.

 “As a result the EPA believes that the pollution to the creek could have been mitigated.

“There were opportunities for the company to install portable pumps and pipe lines to prevent overflow of the sediment sump to Bayswater Creek, but no contingencies had been put in place.”

The EPA requires pollution controls to be implemented at all times and that licensees comply with both their environment protection licence and the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997. 

Any occupier of a premises covered by an Environment Protection Licence must identify pollution risks, put in place measures to mitigate these risks, whether short term or on a permanent basis.

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 at http://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/legislation/prosguid.htm

Contact: Public Affairs

Page last updated: 28 August 2017