Sydney Water ordered to pay $1.2 million after untreated sewage release damaged homes

Sydney Water has been ordered to pay more than $1.2 million in costs after it discharged more than half a million litres of untreated sewage in two separate incidents, one of which damaged homes.

The water agency entered into an enforceable undertaking with the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) over the two incidents, each carrying a penalty of $600,000.

In the first instance, in January and February 2020, a Sydney Water main in Sydney’s south-west failed seven times, discharging 88,000 litres of untreated sewage into the local environment in Grasmere and Glenmore.

An image posted by Sydney Water after seven discharges of untreated sewage from a Sydney Water rising main in Grasmere and Glenmore in January and February 2020. (Sydney Water)

Then in July, a sewage pipe in Shellharbour failed, releasing 430,000 litres of untreated sewage that flowed into residential properties and caused extensive damage.

The overflow also spilled onto nearby beaches, forcing the temporary closure of Shellharbour Beach North and South and the Beverley Whitfield Ocean Pool, which had to be drained after sewage entered the pool.

EPA Director of Regulatory Operations Jacinta Hanemann said owners of sewage-damaged homes deserved better.

“We expect better from Sydney Water and know that the community feels the same way. Nobody wants sewage flooding their street or impacting the environment,” Ms Hanemann said.

“Untreated sewage poses risks to human health and can have impacts on our ecosystems.”

In July 2020 a sewage pipe, known as a rising main, failed in Shellharbour, releasing approximately 430,000 litres of untreated sewage. A sign was placed at the beach warning of sewage overflow. (Environmental Protection Agency)

Sydney Water has also agreed to pay the EPA’s legal and investigative costs.

In a statement posted to its social media channels, Sydney Water said as a result of enforceable undertaking a total of $600,000 will be contributed to environmental projects to improve water quality monitoring.

“Sydney Water entered into an enforceable undertaking with NSW Environment Protection Authority after seven discharges of untreated sewage from a Sydney Water rising main in Grasmere and Glenmore in January and February 2020,” Sydney Water said.

“Sydney Water will contribute $600,000 to environmental projects with Camden Council, Wollondilly Council and university partners.

“These projects will improve water quality monitoring, bush regeneration, weed control and environmental performance industry-wide.”

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Reference-www.9news.com.au

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