The NSW Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has found that the water discharged from the Werris Creek mine met environmental requirements.
The EPA requested a report from the mine after being alerted to the discharge on June 30 by a local resident.
Lindsay Fulloon, EPA manager operation Armidale said they received a report from the mine about a controlled water discharge that occurred from June 23 to July 1 2016. The report indicated that the tests undertaken before the discharge complied with the water quality limits set by the mine’s environmental protection licence (EPL).
“The EPA has concluded that this was a lawful discharge by the mine but recognises that adjacent landholders have a reasonable expectation that they should be advised prior to controlled discharges occurring,” Fulloon said.
“The EPA has raised those expectations with the mine.”
The mine’s EPL approves the discharge of stormwater from the site under two conditions; when the water to be discharged has been tested and meets the water quality limits set in the EPL, and when rainfall on the site five days prior to the period exceeds the design capacity of the holding ponds. The mine has to show they have been actively managing the water stored in its sedimentation ponds in the lead up to the rainfall and have been doing all they can to maintain the required design capacity.
The discharge in question followed significant rainfall before and during 23 June to July 1, and at the time, the mine tested and confirmed its compliance with water quality limits before releasing it.