EPA gives Boral notice to create action plan for Wingecarribee River pollution

Boral has until the end of the week to submit an action plan to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) relating to pollution of the Wingecarribee River.

Boral was recently issued with a notice of a variation of its licence number 608.

The variation added to the licence was a special condition that Boral develop an action plan to prevent, control, abate and mitigate pollution to the Wingecarribee River.

A recent report by Dr Ian Wright from the Western Sydney University said while the Berrima Colliery had ceased operation, it was still leaking pollutants into the Wingecarribee River.

Under the variation, Boral is required to submit a written action plan by October 13.

The Action Plan must include: 

  • a characterisation of water discharge quality from the Berrima Colliery into the Wingecarribee River for “the period during mining activity and post mining activity”;
  • an investigation of practical reasonable and feasible measures that could be taken immediately to “prevent, control, abate or mitigate pollution” from the Berrima Colliery and to “restore, maintain or improve the environmental values of water affected by the discharge of pollution”;
  • a recommendation regarding preferred measures that could be installed where reasonable and feasible
  • a timeline for implementation/construction/installation of the initial preferred measures.
  • a description of the actions to ensure the community and users of the Wingecarribee River affected by the discharge are kept informed of the discharge, its environmental impacts and the actions put in place to mitigate the impacts

A Boral spokesman said the company would work closely with the EPA and other state bodies to progress the closure of the former Berrima colliery.

“The mine, which had been operating for more than 50 years before Boral acquired it, ceased all mining operations in 2013. Since then, it has been on care and maintenance, while we work with state authorities – including the EPA - on developing a mine closure plan,” he said.

“Boral will keep the local community informed on all relevant aspects of the plan, as we have done in the past. This includes matters of water quality.”

The licence variation can be viewed here.

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