Charlotte Pass Ski Resort fined $230k after it was found guilty of pumping sewage into national park

Glamorous Ski resort found guilty of pumping millions of litres of sewage into a pristine national park and slapped with a $200k fine

  • Ski resort fined $233k for pumping millions of litres of sewage into national park
  • Sewage was released into waterways surrounding the Kosciuszko National Park 
  • Land and Environment Court said park had released 11.6million litres of sewage
  • Waste had only been partially treated due to faulty equipment in sewage plant

A NSW ski resort has been fined almost $250,000 after it was found guilty of dumping millions of litres of sewage into the pristine waters of a national park. 

Charlotte Pass Ski Resort pumped 11.6million litres of partially treated sewage into waterways near the Kosciuszko National Park over 78 days in 2019.

The Land and Environment Court ruled the park had posed an ecological risk to aquatic life and organisms with the sewage containing elevated levels of ammonia and nitrogen.

Charlotte Pass Ski Resort (pictured) was found guilty of dumping 11.6million litres of partially treated sewage into waterways near the Kosciuszko National Park in 2019

Charlotte Pass Ski Resort (pictured) was found guilty of dumping 11.6million litres of partially treated sewage into waterways near the Kosciuszko National Park in 2019

The Land and Environment Court found the park had posed an ecological risk to aquatic life and organisms after sewage with elevated levels of ammonia and nitrogen was released into nearby creeks and streams for 78 days in 2019 (pictured, a pair ski at Charlotte Pass in 2020)

The Land and Environment Court found the park had posed an ecological risk to aquatic life and organisms after sewage with elevated levels of ammonia and nitrogen was released into nearby creeks and streams for 78 days in 2019 (pictured, a pair ski at Charlotte Pass in 2020)

The court heard the sewage had only been partially treated due to faulty diffusers in the resort’s sewage filtration tanks, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.  

NSW Environment Protection Authority chief executive Tony Chappel claimed the resort had known the equipment in the sewage plant needed repairs. 

‘If you know that your equipment doesn’t meet the standards required, it must be addressed, failure to do so is an unacceptable disregard of the environment,’ Mr Chappel said.

The Snowy Mountains resort was asked to pay a total of $233,425. It was fined $144,000 for the offence in addition to $89,425 – the cost of the Environment Protection Authority’s investigation. 

EPA officers discovered the elevated levels of ammonia and nitrogen during a routine test of the water quality in 2019. 

Charlotte Pass Ski Resort was asked to post notices of the court findings on its social media platforms as well as its official website (stock image)

Charlotte Pass Ski Resort was asked to post notices of the court findings on its social media platforms as well as its official website (stock image)

The Snowy Mountains resort wad fined $144,000 for the offence in addition to $89,425 - the cost of the Environment Protection Authority's investigation (pictured, Charlotte Pass)

The Snowy Mountains resort wad fined $144,000 for the offence in addition to $89,425 – the cost of the Environment Protection Authority’s investigation (pictured, Charlotte Pass)

On July 23, they took two samples from a stream that runs alongside the resort’s sewage treatment plant – one from an area upstream and another downstream. 

The tests revealed that the sample of water running downstream had 600 times the amount of ammonia found in the upstream sample. 

Officers then tested the nitrogen levels in the same waterway and found the downstream sample had eight times more than the upstream sample. 

They concluded the resort had discharged 11.6million litres of partially treated sewage over nearly 80 days between July 9 to September 24 in 2019. 

The Land and Environment Court heard the sewage had only been partially treated due to faulty diffusers in the resort's sewage filtration tanks (pictured, the ski resort)

The Land and Environment Court heard the sewage had only been partially treated due to faulty diffusers in the resort’s sewage filtration tanks (pictured, the ski resort)

Environment Protection Authority officers discovered the elevated levels of ammonia and nitrogen during a routine test of the water quality in 2019 (pictured, the ski resort)

Environment Protection Authority officers discovered the elevated levels of ammonia and nitrogen during a routine test of the water quality in 2019 (pictured, the ski resort)

In her judgement, Justice Rachel Pepper said the sewage had ‘likely’ caused ecological damage but that it could not be the sole blame for future issues. 

She said the offending had been made worse by the fact the resort had known the diffusers in the sewage tanks were faulty and needed repairing. 

In handing down the fine, which totalled nearly a quarter of a million dollars, Justice Pepper said she had taken into account that the resort had expressed remorse and that it had entered into an early guilty plea. 

Charlotte Pass Ski Resort was asked to post notices of the court findings on its social media platforms as well as its official website. 

Daily Mail Australia has reached out to the park for comment. 

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