The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has issued a $15,000 fine to Snowy Hydro Limited contractor WeBuild S.P.A in relation to its Snowy 2.0 operations in Kosciuszko National Park.
The EPA alleges that during construction works near the Wallaces Creek Bridge at Lobs Hole, the contractor inadvertently altered the drainage pathway for stormwater runoff, resulting in sediment laden water discharging into Wallaces Creek, which flows in to Yarrangobilly River.
NSW EPA Executive Director Operations Jason Gordon said the EPA’s investigation found that the short-term duration of the incident resulted in some minor impacts to water quality in a short section of Wallaces Creek, and after considering the compliance history of WeBuild, the EPA considered a penalty notice to be warranted.
“We have strict requirements in place to protect delicate ecosystems and waterways from pollution and we expect absolute compliance,” Mr Gordon said.
“This is a large project spanning over a significant area and the EPA will maintain a strong regulatory oversight to ensure the environment is protected.
“Kosciuszko National Park contains highly specialised plants, animals and micro-organisms and is home to a number of endangered species including the Booroolong Frog.
“The community expects all contractors to prevent pollution incidents and it is critical that those working in the region understand the importance of protecting the environment in this unique area.
“The EPA will continue to closely monitor the project and escalated enforcement action can be expected if further breaches are detected and may include prosecution action for serious breaches of the environment laws.
In August last year, WeBuild were fined after an unattended pump resulted in around 9000 litres of sediment-laden water entering the Yarrangobilly River. In April 2023, both Snowy Hydro Limited and WeBuild were fined over two alleged pollution incidents in the Kosciuszko National Park, where the EPA alleged inadequate sediment and erosion controls were established, despite warnings by EPA officers.
The EPA encourages the community to report potential water pollution incidents to the Environment Line on 131 555.
For more information about the EPA’s regulatory tools and strategy, see the EPA website: https://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/about-us/publications-and-reports/regulatory-strategy