Steps taken to protect environment

South Creek Bass Club member Aaron Horne and Councillor Michelle Tormey saw the destruction at South Creek first hand. Photo: Megan Dunn
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Risky businesses will be monitored under a rigorous compliance campaign by Penrith Council, after a damaging fire at a St Marys factory early last year.

Just last month, Council launched Operation Proactive to ensure businesses in Penrith’s industrial areas operate safely to protect the community and the environment from industrial pollution.

While the majority of local industrial businesses comply with environmental and planning requirements, Penrith Mayor Karen McKeown said there is room for improvement.

“Our health and the health of our environment demands nothing less,” she said.

Council and the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) will regularly inspect high risk sites and issue substantial fines when sites are not following development consent conditions.

The operation is partly in response to a factory fire in Severn Street, St Marys, in January last year, that caused bio-diesel to leak into the surrounding South Creek and Ropes Creek.

“This fire caused significant damage to property and the environment,” Cr McKeown said.

In May, Greens Councillor Michelle Tormey requested that Council take preventative measures to protect the waterways, a call she said has not completely been answered.

“I requested a report to the Council on the event and in particular requested the water quality testing results be released,” she said.

“To date this information has not been received.”

A Council spokesperson said the factory that burned down is no longer contributing pollution to the creek.

“The site is being remediated and there is no longer any waste oil or other products stored there,” she said.

However, groups such as the South Creek Bass Club continue to raise concerns with the water quality of South Creek.

South Creek Bass Club member and fisherman Aaron Horne said South Creek has not been managed well enough.

“We are treating the creeks in western Sydney like we treated the Parramatta River in the 1970s,” he said.

“There’s pipes leading into South Creek from everywhere and there’s not one thing done to protect it.”

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