Cr Greg Belz.
Cr Greg Belz. File

We're in dark on discharge

MAYOR Brad Carter, the council's water spokesman Greg Belz and the community were all kept in the dark about mines in the Fitzroy River catchment breaching their discharge permits.

Cr Belz, chairman of Rockhampton Regional Council's water committee, yesterday condemned recent mine water discharges and a failure to keep stakeholders informed.

He has reacted angrily after 14 coal mines discharged mine site water into the Fitzroy catchment 25 times since January 23, with two of these mines operating outside of their Environmental Authority.

The council has found itself in the firing line in recent months as angry residents demand answers about the region's water quality, which has been affected by high salinity levels that are now seemingly returning to normal.

Yesterday's salinity level at The Gap was just above 500 uS/cm, well down on recent highs above 800.

Cr Belz found out about the discharge breaches through a report in yesterday's Bulletin.

"It is of grave concern to me that some of these mines would show such disregard for the health of the Fitzroy River system and the quality of the raw water in the river catchment," he said.

"And I expect the Department of Environment and Resource Management to use the full force of the law to bring those mines into line."

His comments were backed by Cr Carter who today will be briefed by the department about the releases. He said its first port of call when mines made releases should be the council.

Cr Belz said the people of the region would no longer tolerate the quick-fix solution of discharging poor-quality, untreated mine site water into the Fitzroy catchment.

He called on the department to give weekly reports to the council and the community with details of any mine site water discharges.


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