EPA confirms limits to be set on West Cliff mine licence
Media release: 27 July 2012
On the back of independent testing by the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) and the latest report from West Cliff, the EPA has confirmed that it will be looking to place limits on the West Cliff Mine licence with respect to salt and metals being discharged into Brennans Creek.
The decision was made after further discussions took place between Illawarra Coal management and the EPA Chair & CEO Barry Buffier and the Acting Chief Environmental Regulator.
Mr Buffier said that the EPA had received the Pollution Reduction Program report from West Cliff as required on Thursday 26th July. That report stated that discharges into Brennans Creek produced no observable ecotoxicity, within experimental error, to water flea (48 hr test), green algae (72 hr test), glass shrimp (96 hr test) or rainbow fish (96 hr test) The EPA is now fully assessing the report
“In addition the NSW EPA undertook its own independent testing that has indicated that the level of environmental impacts resulting from the discharge of water from the Brennans Creek dam do not appear to be high. Some low level toxic effects to sensitive aquatic life were found. Specifically, reproductive impairment in water fleas and some atypical acute effects on larval fish were noted and this is being further assessed. We plan to have this completed by the end of August
“Therefore we are taking precautionary action to ensure the ongoing protection of this waterway and propose limits on West Cliff’s Environment Protection Licence for salt, arsenic, copper, nickel and zinc discharges,” Mr Buffier said.
“Further work is needed to ascertain the exact limit required for each of these elements and this is now underway. We are aiming to have enforceable limit conditions on the licence by the end of October.
“Once the licence limits have been established West Cliff will be required to implement them immediately and monitor results closely.”
Mr Buffier said that the test results and consequential limits will also help to inform the development of a ‘Surface Water Management Plan’, which West Cliff must develop and submit to the Department of Planning and Infrastructure for approval by 30 September 2012 as part of the recently approved Bulli Seam Operations Project.
“This submission is a condition placed on West Cliff by the independent experts from the Planning Assessment Commission (PAC), and is legally binding.
“The Surface Water Management Plan’ must include the implementation of any pollution reduction programs with respect to mine water discharges from Brennans Creek dam and identify 5, 7 and 10 year commitments to substantially reduce the impacts of salinity and other pollutants in the discharge, monitoring and reporting procedures.”
Contact: Liza Cassidy
Page last updated: 27 July 2012