Pipecon cop $8000 fine from EPA for Yarrowee River leak

The Environmental Protection Authority has issued Ballarat pipeline construction business Pipecon with a fine of almost $8000 after muddy, sediment laden storm water from a Brown Hill development was allowed to leak into the Yarrowee River. 

The EPA investigated a community report when they found a muddy brown plume which stretched along three kilometres of the river. 

Relatively clean water upstream of the site clearly contrasted with the liquid near the development, an EPA statement said. 

EPA South West Region Manager Carolyn Francis said it was disappointing proper controls to manage the sediment were not put in place. 

“It may just look like mud, but high levels of sediment in waterways can kill aquatic plants, interfere with fish and frog breeding, and in extreme cases, smother the underwater habitat, killing off the fish, plants and many smaller waterborne species that live there,” Ms Francis said.

”All property developers need to be mindful of the potential impact on the environment that their activities can have.” 

“In this case, the impact on the environment could have been prevented easily, if sediment control had been implemented and maintained to the standards required by EPA Guidelines and local Council permits,” she said.

The EPA has issued a legally enforceable order to improve sediment control measures, and the company has complied with the order, by installing erosion and sediment control measures that include fabric filters, jute matting, silt fencing, straw bales and grass seeding of bare areas of ground across the site to reduce sediment run-off. 

The Courier has contacted Pipecon for comment.