Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council has entered into an Enforceable Undertaking with the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) to contribute $50,000 to local environment improvement works following a water pollution incident.
EPA Director Regulatory Operations Cate Woods said the financial undertaking would be put to good use.
“This outcome commits Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council to completing environmental works on Queanbeyan River to benefit both the local environment and the community.”
The environmental works will include site preparation and weed control followed by bush regeneration using native species to improve water quality in the Queanbeyan River and improve habitat for wildlife.
On 21 September 2019, an estimated two million litres of sewage was discharged to the Queanbeyan River.
The incident occurred when all pumps were inadvertently left in an “out of service” state, following clearing works to remove a blockage at the Morisset Street Sewage Pump Station, causing the station to overflow.
There was little environmental harm caused by the incident because Council immediately cleaned up and disinfected the incident site, however the Council recognises that the potential for environmental harm was great.
In addition, the Council has now implemented a new alarm system and has conducted pump upgrade works at the pump station.
Enforceable Undertakings are one of a number of tools the EPA can use to achieve environmental compliance. Through an Enforceable Undertaking, the EPA may secure outcomes such as environmental restoration measures or contributions to environmental projects. The undertaking is enforceable by the Land and Environment Court.