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Blueberry farmer fined for water pollution

A blueberry grower in the Mid North Coast town of Woolgoolga has been fined $7,500 for alleged water pollution.

During an inspection of the farm, officers from the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) found pesticides being used close to a waterway, and poor storage of chemicals which had allowed the pesticides to enter the water.

The EPA also issued an Official Caution to the grower for failing to keep adequate pesticide application records.

EPA Acting Director Regulatory Operations Janet Sparrow said pesticides can be dangerous and lead to negative human health impacts and wildlife death, if not managed properly.

“Pesticide misuse and poor management can cause serious environmental impacts, such as contaminated water habitats and soil,” Ms Sparrow said.

“Regular exposure to contaminated environments can also lead to greater risks of negative health effects for communities.”

The EPA issued a clean-up notice to the grower requiring immediate clean-up and disposal of the used pesticide containers on the property.

The EPA will continue to monitor compliance with environmental regulations at farms in the area.

“It’s critical that pesticides are used responsibly on farms to protect community and environment health, including aquatic wildlife,” Ms Sparrow said.

“Keeping up-to-date records is legally required because it helps track how pesticides are used, and can prevent pollution.”

Members of the public are encouraged to report any pollution incidents to Enviro Line on 131 555.

For more information on pesticide usage in NSW visit the EPA website.

For more information about the EPA’s regulatory tools, see the EPA Compliance Policy at www.epa.nsw.gov.au/legislation/prosguid.htm

Source: NSW EPA

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