The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has issued Leadshine Pty Limited with a fine of $15,000 for ongoing poor erosion and sediment controls at its Broken Head Quarry, near Byron Bay.
Examinations of the quarry ‘repeatedly’ found it had inadequate sediment controls and ‘inadequate capacity’ in its sediment control basins.
The authority went on to accuse the company of incompetent environmental management of the site and a spokesperson said that despite the authority working with the company since last year to improve standards, ‘fundamental deficiencies’ remained.
It’s not the first time the quarry has been in the news in recent years, with a proposal to build a new suburb on the degraded site, rejected by Byron Shire Council in 2014 and the Land and Environment Court last year.
EPA Regional Director North Adam Gilligan said Leadshine has ‘a responsibility to ensure that appropriate erosion and sediment controls are in place to prevent impacts on the surrounding environment.’
‘The EPA’s inspections of the Broken Head Quarry repeatedly found that sediment and erosion controls at the site were inadequate,’ Mr Gilligan said.
‘Erosion and sediment controls were poorly designed and constructed, and were not being properly maintained.
‘There was evidence that inadequate capacity was being maintained in the sediment basins to capture sediment after rainfall and a significant failure of stormwater diversion works had occurred.
‘Leadshine’s Environment Protection Licence requires that activities are carried out in a competent manner. Clearly this was not the case.’
The EPA issued Pollution Reduction Programs to the company in July and December 2016 requiring Leadshine to review and improve the sediment and erosion controls at the quarry.
Mr Gilligan said the EPA has not been satisfied with the company’s actions in response to the Pollution Reduction Programs.
‘It is disappointing that the EPA’s requirements for the controls to be improved have not been complied with.
‘The EPA has been working with Leadshine since 2016 in seeking to have the site’s sediment and erosion controls upgraded to acceptable standards, however recent inspections confirmed that fundamental deficiencies in the controls remained.
‘Sediment laden waters can have a major impact on local waterways. This shows a complete disregard for the environment, which will not be tolerated,’ Mr Gilligan said.
The EPA will continue to monitor activities at the quarry to ensure improvements are made.