Showing posts with label pollution. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pollution. Show all posts

Wednesday, 21 October 2020

Vandals wreck the enjoyment of others and damage can lead to public park closures - as occurred in the Clarence Valley this month


What mindless vandalism removed from the Clarence Valley this month - two free camping sites.




The Daily Telegraph, 19 October 2020


Free camping at Copmanhurst and Lilydale will soon come to an end after multiple complaints were made to Crown Lands.


Residents have discovered several makeshift campsites with high volumes of rubbish left behind In recent months.


It’s understood some individuals and groups have also trespassed onto private property to set up campsites.


The department has been made aware of complaints about inappropriate vehicle camping and other anti-social behaviour including littering and rubbish dumping at the reserve,” a Department of Planning, Industry and Environment – Crown Lands representative said.


We will work with Clarence Valley Council to undertake compliance action to deal with any unauthorised camping.” Illegal dumping has been an issue that has contributed to camping being banned at reserves at Lilydale and Copmanhurst.


In the meantime, Clarence Valley councillor Debrah Novak said in a social media post that Crown Lands “intend to decommission the camping reserve at Lilydale and Copmanhurst and return it back to a public recreation reserve”.


They have identified they don’t have the available resources to monitor or enforce the compliance matters related to the toilets (no disability access) or the camping,” she said….

The Daily Telegraph, 15 October 2020:


A popularpiece of playground equipment at Grafton’s Jacaranda Park will be off limits for some time after an alleged vandalism attack.


Clarence Valley Council announced on Facebook that they’ve had to close the tower at Jacaranda Park.


It’s really sad for everyone that a community playground that brings so much happiness and laughter – to so many local people – would be a target for this kind of mindless behaviour,” a council spokesman said.


If anyone has any information please report it to Grafton Police on 6642 0222 or call Crime Stoppers NSW on 1800 333 000. “If you see something – say something.”


Sunday, 18 October 2020

CLARENCE RIVER CATCHMENT 2020: a culturally, economically, environmentally & socially harmful number of mining applications are in the process of getting the nod from the NSW Berejiklian Coalition Government


Caring for the Clarence from Nathan Oldfield on Vimeo.



Of particular concern to council and the wider valley community is the yet to be completed Mole River dam in Tenterfield shire which has previously been mooted as a holding dam for the diversion of Clarence River catchment water elsewhere by Clarence water first being sent into the Upper Mole River.


That brings to three the number of companies currently undertaking exploration mining in the Clarence Valley. 


Given that the number of exploration licenses applied for or granted in the Clarence River catchment area have grown rapidly in 2020, the level of concern for the headwaters of so many rivers and creeks in also rising in Clarence Valley communities.

 IMAGE: Clarence Catchment Alliance

Needless to say the NSW Nationals MP for Clarence Chris Gulaptis, former surveyor, property developer and operations manager with a Qld resources/mining consultancy firm, thinks this map is just fine and dandy - nothing to see hear, move along.

BACKGROUND

Clarence Valley Council submission to Inquiry into the rationale for, and impacts of, new dams and other water infrastructure in NSW, dated 22 September 2020 at:

Ms. Debrah Novak (Clarence Valley councillor) submission to Inquiry into the rationale for, and impacts of, new dams and other water infrastructure in NSW, dated 21 September 2020 at:

Clarence Environment Centre submission to Inquiry into the rationale for, and impacts of, new dams and other water infrastructure in NSW, dated 12 September 2020 at:


Tuesday, 3 March 2020

Boral Concrete at Maclean in NSW does the wrong thing and gets caught rehanded, fined $15,000


On 15 October 2019 a  member of the public alerted the NSW Environmental Protection Agency (NSW EPA) to the fact that cement slurry was being discharged into the Clarence River by Boral Concrete (part of the multinational Boral Limited group).

It is not known how long such discharges had been occurring before this environmental vandalism had been discovered.

Google Earth image of Boral Concrete by @pilligapush

NSW EPA
, media release, 27 February 2020: 


NSW North Coast concrete plant fined $15,000 for water pollution incident 

A North Coast concrete batching plant that allegedly discharged cement slurry into a drain that flows to the Clarence River has been fined $15,000 by the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA). 

A complaint from a member of the public alerted the EPA to the discharge from the Boral Resources (Country) Pty Ltd plant on the outskirts of Maclean, in the Clarence Valley region, on 15 October 2019. 

The EPA alleges that poor environmental management practices at the plant contributed to the discharge. 

EPA Director Regulatory Operations Regional North Karen Marler said the slurry appeared to have been discharging from the Boral plant for some time prior to 15 October 2019. 

“The EPA issued a Clean Up Notice that ordered Boral to take immediate actions to prevent the continuing escape of this material and to remove the slurry discharge from the stormwater drain to prevent further impacts,” Ms Marler said. 

“Subsequent EPA inspections confirm the clean-up and the actions taken to improve plant operation were effective.” 

The $15,000 Penalty Notice for pollution of waters is a reminder to all companies of the importance of monitoring internal systems and carrying out regular checks to prevent environmental incidents. 

Ms Marler said that community members play a vital role in preventing environmental harm. 

Reports of pollution can be made to the EPA’s 24-hour Environment Line on 131 555. 

Fines are just one of the ways the EPA can enforce compliance. The EPA can also use formal warnings, official cautions, licence conditions, notices and directions and prosecutions. 

For more information about the EPA’s regulatory tools, see the EPA Compliance Policy at https://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/licensing-and-regulation/legislation-and-compliance/policies-and-guidelines.

This is not the first time Boral has been fined in Australia.

In 2019 the company was fined $15,000 for cement dust pollution at its plant in New Berrima, NSW; in 2016 it was fined $15,000 for excessive fluoride emissions on the NSW Central Coast; and in 2009 it was fined $5,500 for dumping concrete slurry on land in Numurkah, Victoria.

As Boral Resources it was also fined $15,000 for water pollution at its site at Marulan, NSW.

Sunday, 23 February 2020

February 2020 - a month of fish kills and fish rescues in New South Wales



The Northern Star, 18 February 20120, pp 1-2:

Dr Matt Landos, a local veterinarian who specialises in aquatic species, recently warned of a potential fish kill. 

He previously said the long, dry spell had led to a build-up of monosulfidic black ooze in agricultural drains within the catchment. The drains were built long ago to empty wetlands to open land to farming. 

On Sunday, he took his son to North Creek to find his prediction had come true. “Nineteen years on from the first major kill, and the science on drainage and wetland restoration sits largely gathering dust, waiting for action to fix our landscape,” he said. 

“The solution is to pay our farmers to restore drained wetlands.” A spokesperson for the NSW Department of Primary Industries said DPI Fisheries had investigated fish death events at Rocky Mouth Creek and North Creek. 

“Mullet, bream and whiting are the main species impacted, the spokesperson said.“The suspected cause of the current events is due to critically low dissolved oxygen levels.”

Earlier in the month on 7 February at Fine Flower Creek in the Clarence River catchment there was a report of approximately 150 to 200 dead fish including Mullet and Perch. Likely cause being low dissolved oxygen within an isolated pool receiving minimal inflows.

Further down the coast on 11 February at Clybucca Creek in the Macleay River estuary there was a report of thousands of dead fish including Garfish, Mullet, Blackfish, Silver Biddy, Flathead, Bream and Whiting. Recent rainfall events have caused flooding of the backswamp system resulting in deoxygenated and low pH water, killing fish upstream and downstream of the gates.


That same day at Killick Creek, Kempsey, there was also a report of thousands of dead fish including Yellowfin Bream, Mullet, Longtail Eels and Flathead. Stressed fish were observed gasping at the water surface indicating low dissolved oxygen levels present. Cause was episodic rainfall events that caused short and sharp flow. This can cause a rapid reduction in dissolved oxygen levels due to large volumes of organic material entering the river system.


On 5 February Cockle Creek at Teralba, Lake Macquarie there was a report of  hundreds of dead Mullet. Likely cause being low dissolved oxygen within an isolated pool receiving minimal inflows.

16 February at North Creek, Prospect and Chickiba Lakes at Ballina saw a report of thousands of dead fish including Bream, Leather Jacket and Trumpeter. Cause unknown.

By 18 &19 February the Richmond River had suffered two fish kill events. The first at Woodburn Bridge when hundreds  of mullet died due to the reduction in dissolved oxygen (DO) levels caused by significant rainfall/flooding event on floodplain, followed by hot weather, leading to discharge of large volumes of critically low DO water entering the waterway via creeks and drains.The second at the East Wardell Boat Ramp with a report of hundreds of dead fishing including Bream, Flathead, Garfish, Whiting, Mullet, Herring ranging from 10cm to 40cm. The cause was a reduction in dissolved oxygen (DO) levels caused by significant rainfall/flooding event on floodplain, followed by hot weather, leading to discharge of large volumes of critically low DO water entering the waterway via creeks and drains.

Also on 19 February at Alumny Creek, South Arm and Shark Creek in the Clarence Valley there were reports of thousands of dead fish including mullet and eels, due to the reduction in dissolved oxygen (DO) levels caused by significant rainfall/flooding event on floodplain, followed by hot weather, leading to discharge of large volumes of critically low DO water entering the waterway via creeks and drains.

A total of 24 fish kill events occurred in NSW coastal catchments in February 2020, while there were 6 fish kill events in the Murray-Darling Basin involving the death of many hundreds of dead wild fish.


See: NSW Dept. Primary Industries (DPI), Fish Kills in NSW for full details.

In order to save as many fish as possible from the record-breaking drought, bushfires and post-fire water pollution after rainfall, rescues have taken place in the Gwydir, Border Rivers, Macquarie, Lachlan, and Upper Murray catchments in the Murray-Darling Basin, and in the Clarence and Richmond River catchments on the coast.

Threatened fish species were captured and relocated to areas where these fish would have a greater chance of surviving or sent to government hatcheries and Taronga Western Plains Zoo where they will form the backbone of captive breeding programs.

DPI Fisheries states it has rescued more than 5,000 native fish from all corners of the state, since operations began in September 2019 with the rescue of Murray Cod, Golden Perch and other native fish species in the drying Menindee Lakes.

Those fish rescued to date include: approximately 1,630 Olive Perchlet, 740 Southern Pygmy Perch, 292 Oxleyan Pygmy Perch, 107 Southern Purple Spotted Gudgeon, 98 Eastern Freshwater Cod, 79 Silver Perch and 34 Eel-tailed Catfish and, sadly only 9 Macquarie Perch.

Community members are encouraged to report sightings of threatened fish to help identify where actions may be required to prevent fish deaths and, to report any fish deaths or observations through the Fishers Watch phoneline on 1800 043 536. 

For more information or to report a threatened species, download the FishSmart app, phone the Fishers Watch phone line on 1800 043 536, or visit www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/fishing.

Tuesday, 4 February 2020

Extraordinarily high levels of manganese in town water after rain causing a problem in Tweed Shire


EchoNetDaily, 31 February 2020: 

Following recent rains the water supplied to the Tweed Shire catchment has been appearing dirty as a result of the high mineral content that has washed into the river following the long dry spell. 

On Wednesday evening Tweed Shire Council stopped pumping water through the reticulation network in a bid to isolate the issue of dirty water to Murwillumbah. 

However, this has been unsuccessful and the dirty water has spread to other areas of the shire. 

Residents are advised that while the water is unsightly, it is fit for drinking. 

However, it should not be used to wash clothes, particularly light-coloured clothes, as it may stain them. 

Difficult treatment process 

‘The levels of manganese in the weir pool are extraordinarily high,’ manager water and wastewater Anthony Burnham said. 

‘These elevated levels of mineral are a result of the recent intense rain washing a lot of organic matter into the waterways, which has then drawn on the dissolved oxygen levels as it decays. 

‘The dissolved oxygen level in the weir pool is now very low, exacerbating the minerals issue as the manganese and iron is dissolved and not in its usual particle form, making it harder to remove.’ 

Council is now drawing water from the top layers of the weir pool, where the water quality is better. 

Removing iron and manganese from the water during the treatment process if finicky and requires constant fine-tuning of the treatment process.

‘Our water treatment process was unable to achieve that fine balance yesterday and the discoloured water is now more widespread throughout the reticulated water network,’ Mr Burnham said.....

Thursday, 23 January 2020

Chromium-6: bushfire temperatures of up to 1,000 degrees can endanger human health long after the flames have gone out


"Fire-induced oxidation of Fe oxide-bound Cr(III) may represent a largely unexplored, yet globally-significant pathway for the natural formation of hazardous Cr(VI) in soil." [Burton E.D. el al, April 2019]

Echo NetDaily, 15 January 2020:

Scientists from Southern Cross University have made a startling discovery about the lethal threat of soils scorched by bushfires. 

The team, led by Professor Ed Burton, has found the naturally occurring metal chromium 3 can be converted by extreme bushfire heat into the highly toxic and cancerous chromium 6. 

Professor Ed Burton of Southern Cross Geoscience is looking at the levels of a toxic element in bushfire affected soil. 

Chromium 6 is the substance spotlighted by renowned American environmentalist Erin Brockovich, who blew the whistle on high concentrations in the water supply of her home town in southern California.

Professor Burton’s breakthrough research has confirmed bushfire temperatures of up to 1,000 degrees can endanger human health long after the flames have gone out. 

‘We’ve seen bushfires create conditions in the surface soil that transform the safe, naturally occurring chromium-3 into the toxic, cancer-causing chromium-6,’ Professor Burton said. 

‘Chromium-6 can cause lung cancer and leach into waterways.’ 

Professor Burton, an expert on the geochemistry and mineralogy of soils, sediments and groundwater systems, said frontline firefighters were immediately at risk but the contamination of water within catchment areas posed a wider threat. 

‘We know that firefighters have higher incidences of chromium in their urine and are more susceptible to cancer than other groups....

See the following peer-reviewed articles concerning the carcinogen Chromium-6:

Burton, E.D., Choppala, G., Karimian, N., Johnston, S.G. (2019) A new pathway for hexavalent chromium formation in soil: Fire-induced alterations of iron oxides. Environmental Pollution 247, 618-625; and 

Burton, E.D., Choppala, G., Vithana, C., Hockmann, K., Johnston, S.G. (2019) Chromium(VI) formation via heating of Cr(III)-Fe(III)-(oxy)hydroxides: A pathway for fire-induced soil pollution. Chemosphere 222, 440-444.

It should be noted that wildfires can also affect and possibly increase the mobility of other minerals naturally found in the soil. 

Initial research suggests that an example of this may be the carcinogen, arsenicAdditionally, past research suggests the potential of higher mercury content in freshwater fish after wildfire events.

Monday, 16 December 2019

There is no stepping back from the fact that Australia is a significant factor in spreading the cancer of greenhouse gas pollution across the Earth's atmosphere


Australia's annual greenhouse gas emissions for the year to December 2015 were est. 529.2 Mt CO-e and annual greenhouse gas emissions for the year to December 2017 were estimated to be 533.7 Mt CO2-e.

By the year to June 2019 (and with 6 months of the year yet to go) greenhouse gas emissions were estimated to be 532.0 Mt CO2-e.

Now the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Government has always been fond of implying that figures such as these do not matter - saying that Australia is only a minor contributor to global emissions at est. 1.3% of the combined world total.

However, there is no stepping back from the fact that Australia is a significant factor in spreading the cancer of greenhouse gas pollution across the Earth's atmosphere.

In part because successive Australian federal and state government have encouraged investment in the mining of our natural resources.

Just 100 of all the hundreds of thousands of companies in the world have been responsible for 70.6% of all global greenhouse gas emissions that caused global warming in the 27 year period between 1988 and 2015, according to The Carbon Majors Database, a report published by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) in 2017.

These 100 fossil fuel industry companies can be broken down into the following categories:
41 publicly listed investor-owned;
16 privately held investor-owned;
36 state-owned; and
7 state producers.

The top 50 of these companies are:

China Coal Group
Saudi Arabian Oil Company (Aramco)
National Iranian Oil Co
ExxonMobil Corp operating in Australia since 1895
Coal India Limited planning to acquire assets in Australia
Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex)
Russia Coal Co
Royal Dutch Shell PLC operating in Australia
China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) operating in Australia
BP PLC operating in Australia
Chevron Corp operating in Australia
Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA)
Abu Dhabi National Oil Co
Poland Coal
Peabody Energy Corp operating in Australia
Sonatrach SPA
Kuwait Petroleum Corp
Total SA operating in Australia
BHP Billiton Ltd operating in Australia
ConocoPhillips operating in Australia
Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras)
Lukoil OAO operating in Australia
Rio Tinto operating in Australia
Nigerian National Petroleum Corp
Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas)
Rosneft OAO
Arch Coal Inc operating in Australia
Iraq National Oil Co
Eni SPA operating in Australia
Anglo American operating in Australia
Surgutneftegas
Alpha Natural Resources Inc operated in Australia
Qatar Petroleum Corp
Pertamina
Kazakhstan Coal
Statoil ASA operating in Australia
National Oil Corporation of Libya
Consol Energy Inc operating in Australia
Ukraine Coal
Oil & Natural Gas Corp Ltd operating in Australia
Glencore PLC operating in Australia
TurkmenGaz
Sasol Ltd operating in Australia
Repsol SA operating in Australia
Anadarko Petroleum Corp
Egyptian General Petroleum Corp
Petroleum Development Oman
Czech Republic Coa.

Between them these 50 companies were responsible for est. 63.2% of the cumulative global greenhouse gas emissions between1988 and 2015 according to the CDP report.

The report also recorded global emissions for the year 2015 in which the following companies were listed as contributing significantly to global greenhouse gas emissions:

Shenhua Group Corp Ltd (2% global CO2-e) operating in Australia
Shandong Energy Group Co Ltd (0.7% global CO2-e) operating in Australia. 

In the face of the increasing negative impacts from climate change, Australia allows 22 of the world's top polluters to conduct business in Australia without even a pretence of limiting their greenhouse gas emissions. 

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Insecticide poisoning caused the death of 15 Satin Bowerbirds found at Modanville, near Lismore in recent weeks


Echo NetDaily,  September 2019:

Insecticide poisoning caused the death of 15 satin bowerbirds found at Modanville, near Lismore in recent weeks, investigators have revealed.
A Satin Bowerbird. Source: Wikipedia
Investigations conducted by North Coast Local Land Services have confirmed that the bird deaths were caused by the banned insecticide Fenthion.
The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) is now seeking assistance from members of the public in a bid to determine how the poisoning occurred.
As the responsible regulator for pesticide use, the EPA is exploring the possibility that the birds, which are a protected native species, may have been deliberately targeted.
No other bird species is known to have been impacted.
EPA Manager Regional Operations North Coast Benjamin Lewin said the killing of native birds, whether through intentional or reckless pesticide misuse, was a serious offence.
‘We are encouraging anyone with information on these deaths, or anyone who may have seen some activity that could be related to this illegal baiting, to contact the EPA as soon as possible,’ Mr Lewin said.
Fenthion, which was banned from use in 2014 with a phase out period of one year, is a broad-spectrum organophosphorus insecticide.
It is extremely toxic to birds and substantial penalties exist for its possession and use.
The chemical was widely used in the past for insect control on a broad range of fruit crops and for external parasite control on livestock.

Thursday, 15 August 2019

The controversial carbon credits Australia wants to use equals around 8 yrs worth of fossil fuel emissions of all its Pacific neighbours, including NZ


The Australia Institute, media release, 13 August 2019: 

Morrison’s Pollution Loophole Will Weaken Pacific Climate Change Action 


Prime Minister Morrison is undermining Pacific action on climate change, with new analysis from the Australia Institute revealing that his pollution loophole is equivalent to around 8 years fossil fuel emissions for the rest of the Pacific and New Zealand. 

The Government plans to use Kyoto credits to meet emissions targets – a loophole that means Australia will count controversial past reductions to meet current targets – and essentially be able to keep pollution at the same level. 

New research from The Australia Institute shows that if Australia uses this loophole, it would be the equivalent of around eight years of fossil fuel emissions of all its Pacific neighbours.
Australia intends to use 367 Mt of carbon credits to avoid the majority of emission reductions pledged under its Paris Agreement target, meanwhile the entire annual emissions from the Pacific Island Forum members, excluding Australia, is only about 45Mt. 

By using this loophole, the federal government is giving the green light to pollution equivalent to: 

• Annual emissions of 77,919,000 cars on the road 
• Emissions from 95 coal-fired power plants for a whole year 

“If Australia is to be a climate leader at the Pacific Island Forum, the federal government needs to show with meaningful action – and that begins with ruling out the use of Kyoto credits to meet climate change obligations,” said Richie Merzian, Director Climate Change & Energy at The Australia Institute. “The Government’s policy to use Kyoto credits is an insult to Pacific leaders. You can't "step up" in the Pacific while stepping back on climate action. “The Pacific Island Forum is focused on securing our future in the region – and there is no future without a secure and safe climate. “Scott Morrison has a choice – Australia can be a leader in the region and a partner in combatting the impact of climate change, or we can continue to completely undermine any efforts by our Pacific partners by using these dodgy credits.”