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Environment, Legal

EPA prosecutes Delta over Vales Point fish kill

NSW Environment Protection Authority 2 mins read

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has commenced a prosecution against Sunset Power International Pty Ltd trading as Delta Electricity (Delta) in the Land and Environment Court in relation to a fish kill occurring near the Vales Point Power Station at Lake Macquarie in September 2022.

The EPA alleges that Delta failed to maintain their chlorine dosing plant in a proper and efficient condition, resulting in a faulty valve that caused a discharge of concentrated sodium hypochlorite into waters leading to Wyee Bay.

NSW EPA Chief Executive, Tony Chappel said the prosecution follows a comprehensive investigation using all available resources.

“Alongside the community, we expect Delta to meet high standards given the proximity of the Vales Point Power Station to Lake Macquarie,” Mr Chappel said.

“Our investigation found that Delta could have prevented the fish kill if they had adequate equipment and processes in place.

“We’re pleased that Delta have upgraded their systems and the water quality in the Lake has returned to normal levels.

“We will continue to ensure Delta acts in accordance with its environmental responsibilities to prevent future events and protect the environment in Lake Macquarie.

“We know this was a distressing event for the community and I want to thank them for their patience as we worked through the investigation.”

The EPA alleges the incident is a breach of Delta’s environment protection license and an offence against section 64 of the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 (POEO Act) which carries penalties of up to $1 million.

Following the 2022 fish kill events, the EPA arranged for DPE Science, Economics and Insights to install a Smart Buoy data logger to monitor water quality in Lake Macquarie at Wyee Bay.

Live data is available on the EPA website here:

The EPA issued Delta with a licence variation last year to maintain significantly tightened emission standards for nitrogen oxides (NOx) from Vales Point.

Delta is also required to undertake a range of activities to protect the local environment including to implement a seagrass monitoring program and a Coal Ash Repository water sampling plan.

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