Labor Must Stop Dumping Waste Into Nepean River

Friday, 21 May 2010

Liberal candidate for Penrith, Stuart Ayres is demanding Labor stop dumping toxic waste in the precious Nepean River.

Mr Ayres has brought the Shadow Minister for Climate Change and Environmental Sustainability, Catherine Cusack to the Nepean River, to inspect first hand the damage being done.

"It is a disgrace that Labor allows the environmental vandalism to occur," said Mr Ayres.

"Even more concerning, is that it appears Labor is trying to hide the truth from the community as it fails to release the latest data from Sydney Water - the major polluter," said Mr Ayres.

Ms Cusack told Parliament this week that the Labor Government owned Sydney Water is removing 70 tonnes of contaminants from sewage and then issuing itself licenses through the EPA to discharge those contaminants directly into the Nepean River. It's disgusting.

The latest available data from the Environmental Protection Authority reveals a 138% increase in suspended solids dumped by Sydney Water into the Nepean River, up from 3.33 tonnes in 2007 to 7.944 tonnes in 2008. Zinc was up 12% and phosphorus up 60%, from 842 kilograms to 1.347 tonnes. The number of organisms and bacteria, which suck oxygen from the water, tripled from six tonnes to nearly 19 tonnes. (Full breakdown of pollutants attached)

"Data for 2008-09 has not been released by Labor, leading many people to question what they are trying to hide," Ms Cusack said.

"Labor has bungled plans to cease toxic and hazardous discharges into the Nepean River. A new plant that would prevent the discharge of hazardous waste into the river was due to open this year, but has been scaled back and slowed down, and is at least another year away."

Mr Ayres said the Nepean River is the pride of the region.

"Our rivers, which are living and breathing ecosystems, are relied upon by wildlife and are much loved by our community," Mr Ayres said.

"Labor must stop discharging toxic and hazardous waste into the Nepean River.

"The river is the centre of family and visitor recreation including boating, swimming and fishing. It is alarming to realise the sheer volume of toxic waste pouring into the river upstream of these activities.

"I want a return to pristine water quality, to ensure healthy habitats for aquatic and land based plants and wildlife. Local families have a fundamental right to enjoy our river, secure in the knowledge it is a clean, safe and thriving environment."