An EPA review has found that Gippsland Water appropriately contained and cleaned up a sewer spill at Flynn, Victoria, on 1 February 2016 and self-reported the incident.
Gippsland Water, Acting Managing Director, Paul Clark, said Gippsland Water’s number one priority is to ensure a continuous service to customers, and to manage systems in an environmentally sound manner meeting or exceeding the community’s expectations.
“In the case of the sewerage spill at Flynn on 1 February 2016 we immediately, upon notification, undertook priority works to stop the leak and clean up the affected area,” Mr Clark said.
“In addition to this, Gippsland Water reported the spill to the EPA within three hours and subsequently provided a detailed report to the EPA following the incident.
“Gippsland Water was not legally required to notify the EPA or provide an additional detailed report, we chose to do this as part of our comprehensive post-incident review.”
Mr Clark said the spill was unfortunate but highlighted that Gippsland Water met all of its regulatory and legal obligations in regard to the clean up and reporting.
“While we reported within three hours, the guideline asks for 30 minutes which is often difficult to achieve in rural areas due to travel time, and we always do our best to report quickly.
“If there is an occasion where, for example, we have a pipe break or a spill our priority is rectify the situation as quickly as possible in the most environmentally sound way possible,” Mr Clark said.
“We have 1,700km of sewer mains throughout our service area, that’s enough sewer pipes to get to Sydney and back, and we have a well-established maintenance program to try to decrease the likelihood of these types of spills.”