The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) is prosecuting Metropolitan Collieries Pty Ltd after two significant pollution incidents at Camp Gully Creek, which flows into the Hacking River in the Royal National Park.
The EPA alleges that Metropolitan Collieries failed to maintain surface water facilities at the mine site near Helensburgh which meant they were unable to cope with additional rainfall resulting in two discharges of coal contaminated water in September and October 2022.
During the second incident in October, it is alleged that Metropolitan Collieries breached the requirements of an EPA Prevention Notice when it failed to implement preventative actions around water management practices and monitoring, and more stringent water quality standards.
NSW EPA Chief Executive Officer, Tony Chappel said these incidents are incredibly disappointing and failed to meet the high expectations we have of industry, especially those neighbouring our beautiful national parks.
“This pollution incident put both the environment and wildlife at risk not once but twice,” Mr Chappel said.
“The standards we set are critical to protecting the environment and we expect all industries to meet their obligations to ensure our ecosystems are protected for generations to come.
“No-one in NSW wants to see our pristine national parks at risk, especially the local communities that surround them.
“I want to thank the community for being vocal advocates for the park during these distressing events and acknowledge the tireless work of our officers with their investigations.”
Each of the five alleged offences under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 carries a maximum penalty for a corporation of $1,000,000. The matter is listed for directions in the NSW Land and Environment Court on 20 October 2023.
Earlier this year, the EPA imposed a suite of strict operating conditions on the mine after a review of its licence.
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