5 April 2023

Snowy Hydro contractor fined $30,000 for alleged pollution in Kosciuszko National Park

| Claire Fenwicke
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EPA testing creek

EPA compliance officers test the water in Nungar Creek. Photo: NSW EPA.

Operators based within or around protected areas have been warned to ensure vigorous controls are in place to protect the environment after two alleged pollution incidents in the Kosciuszko National Park.

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) fined Snowy Hydro Limited and contractor WeBuild $15,000 each for allegedly failing to establish proper sediment and erosion controls, despite warnings from officers.

The EPA said a sediment plume more than two kilometres long occurred as a result down the Yarrangobilly River, while Nungar Creek was separately impacted by sediment-laden water from Tantangara roadworks.

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NSW EPA executive director regulatory operations Carmen Dwyer said all EPA licensed operators were expected to act with environmental responsibility, and this standard was especially important in delicate ecosystems.

“The environment around these local waterways in the Kosciuszko National Park contains highly specialised plants, animals and microorganisms and is home to a number of endangered species like the smoky mouse and the alpine tree frog,” she said.

“Actions like this can severely impact the environment not just now but for years to come and can be detrimental to many species. These incidents simply should not have occurred.”

creek sediment

Sediment from the Tantangara roadworks discolouring Nungar Creek. Photo: NSW EPA.

The NSW EPA’s investigation found Snowy Hydro and WeBuild failed to adequately implement specific measures required to address potential pollution incidents at the two locations within the park.

Ms Dwyer said officers would continue to monitor the construction project closely, given the sensitive nature of the alpine environment.

“Every industry has a role to play in reducing their impact, but your role is even more critical when you’re based in one of our state’s most pristine environments,” she said.

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