Shell Cove dredging: EPA fines company for water pollution

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has fined Coastwide Civil Pty Limited $15,000 for an alleged water pollution incident which occurred while conducting dredging work at Shell Cove Boat Harbour.

Coastwide Civil was permitted to dredge the harbour for development of a marina. A cut was made in a protective sand bund which opened the harbour to the ocean and resulted in a large visible plume of muddy water discharging from the entrance channel, in March this year.

EPA Director Regulatory Operations, Jacinta Hanemann, said that an EPA officer observed the incident.

“Visibly dirty and turbid water flowed out of the entrance channel from Shell Cove Boat Harbour into the ocean and resulted in a significant change in the colour of the ocean water for several hundred metres,” Ms Hanemann said.

“After being contacted by the EPA, Coastwide Civil closed the opening to stop the discharge.

“It is important for all operators to be diligent when performing dredging operations and dealing with sediment rich or muddy water,” Ms Hanemann said.

“Muddy water can smother or affect the health of marine plants and animals vital to the local aquatic ecosystem.”

“Fortunately, the environmental harm from this incident was short-term with the dredging in an area that is not known to contain any pollutants that might have flowed out through the channel.”