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Council accused of causing serious environmental harm

Isaac Regional Council is facing two Environmental Protection Act charges.
Isaac Regional Council is facing two Environmental Protection Act charges. file

THE partial failure of an effluent storage dam could cost Isaac Regional Council hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines.

The council faces two Environmental Protection Act charges in Mackay Magistrates Court over its alleged role in the incident at Dysart.

Charges include unlawfully causing serious environmental harm and unlawfully depositing a prescribed water contaminant at a place it could be expected to move into waters.

The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (DEHP) brought on the charges in response to the partial dam wall failure at the effluent storage dam in Dysart on February 8 last year, during heavy rainfall.

Water released allegedly combined with extensive flooding already occurring in Dysart.

The effluent storage dam contained water used for irrigation, a spokesman for Isaac Regional Council said, and the council believed it did not present significant risk of contamination.

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The spokesman said interim repair of the dam wall was completed the following day and it was later fully repaired by engineers.

"Council began a major program to address dam security issues at the time, including a comprehensive auditing program,” he said.

"This program continues to focus on upgrading dams constructed some 30 years ago.”

Meanwhile, the council is "working closely with the Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection to enter into an Environmental Undertaking”, the spokesman said.

This involves a full remediation of all dam walls in the Isaac Regional Council area and water cycle management in Dysart.

A DEHP spokesman said a Complaint and Summons was issued to the council in February.

No further comment was provided.

Isaac Regional Council's case was due to return to court for mention in September.

Topics:  department of environment and heritage effluent storage dam environmental protection act isaac regional council mackay court mackay magistrates court


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