Macquarie Pipeline construction company cops fine for poor erosion control

LEED Engineering and Construction management has been fined $1500 for what the NSW Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has labelled inadequate and poorly maintained erosion and sediment controls along the Macquarie Pipeline.

Orange City Council staff also received an official caution for poor environmental controls along the pipeline corridor. 

EPA director south Gary Whytcross said the authority took action on July 2 following a complaint in May. 

“The EPA investigated the matter and confirmed that there was a lack of appropriate erosion and sediment controls in some places, and in some other places they were not adequately maintained,” he said.

Mr Whytcross said, while the council was not directly responsible, it needed to ensure contractors applied good environmental practices.

“The EPA has worked with Orange City Council to identify the standard of works required to protect the environment and will continue to inspect the pipeline works,” he said.

Residents previously complained of sediment washing away during heavy rain following the pipeline’s construction.

Ophir Road resident Learne Spicer said conditions had improved since the EPA took action, including extra straw bales and green sediment fencing and changes to some culverts. 

“We are satisfied at the moment, but there’s always room for improvement,” she said.

Long Point Road resident Colin Young agreed, saying he had observed additional sediment traps.

Orange City Council technical services director Chris Devitt noted the investigation did not find erosion and sediment control measures were breached, only the potential for a breach. 

“The caution and fine are for isolated elements of the project and that in the opinion of the EPA, the majority of the project was very well managed with regard to erosion and sediment control,” he said.

“It was recognised that satisfactory standards were being met, but the EPA expected a higher standard from a local government authority, particularly given the high profile of the project.”

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