Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) has fined North East Water more than $8,000 over a spill that left the water authority pumping sewage out of One Mile Creek at Wangaratta.
EPA North East Regional Manager Renee Palmer says the danger of any spill in an urban area is that it can travel through stormwater drains to the nearest waterway.
“The spill was caused by a blockage in a trade waste sewage pipe, which made North East Water the duty holder responsible,” Ms Palmer said.
“EPA’s first priority was to ensure the spill was contained and cleaned up for the protection of the environment and the community,” she said.
The spill was at a property in Vincent Rd, Wangaratta, and EPA officers tracked the sewage and trade waste to a stormwater outlet into One Mile Creek.
“The officers described the liquid entering the creek as dark coloured with a strong, offensive odour of sewage,” Ms Palmer said.
EPA advised North East Water to remove any contaminated water as far as reasonably practicable from the Creek and stormwater pipe, install public barricades and signs at the Creek to restrict public access, and conduct water quality sampling and report the results to EPA.
A CFA tanker crew had been called in to hose down the premises back yard, and the EPA officers observed that North East Water had eductor trucks pumping contaminated water from the site of the spill and the affected area of the creek.
North East Water has been fined $8,261 for the offence of depositing industrial waste (sewage and abattoir waste waters) at a site that was not licensed to accept it, which is a contravention of Section 27A (2)(a) of the Environment Protection Act 1970.
Under the Environment Protection Act 1970 and the Infringements Act 2006, the company has the right to have the decision to issue the infringement notice reviewed or alternatively to have the matter heard and determined by a court.
Members of the public can report pollution by calling EPA’s 24 hour hotline on 1300 EPA VIC (1300 372 842).