Laguna charged over sewage issue

THE operator and director of Laguna Whitsunday resort, which is now closed, have been fined a total of $90,000 in the Mackay Magistrates Court after the resort's sewage treatment system discharged raw effluent into nearby waterways.

LQ Management Pty Ltd, manager of Laguna Whitsundays Resort, and its director, David Marriner pleaded guilty to two counts of wilfully breaching a development approval condition and one count of wilfully causing environmental harm under the Environmental Protection Act 1994. LQ Management was fined $70,000 and David Marriner was fined $20,000.

Deputy Director General of the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP), Dean Ellwood, said the Queensland Government would not tolerate companies that knowingly harmed the environment.

"The charges follow investigations by EHP officers who identified serious problems with the resort's sewage treatment system between June 2008 and July 2010," Mr Ellwood said.

"This included sewage pumping stations and failure alarms not operating which breached two conditions of the development permit that allows the operation of the sewage treatment system.

"Conditions include that equipment is maintained in a proper and efficient condition and contaminants are not released from the site into any waters."

Mr Ellwood said adequate repairs were not made to the faulty sewage treatment system despite LQ Management and David Marriner being aware that sewage was entering the local environment.

"Multiple water samples taken from the site by EHP officers showed high concentrations of faecal contamination indicating raw sewage," he said.

"There was evidence that two pumping stations attached to the sewage system had overflowed on numerous occasions.

"Raw sewage contaminated several of the resort's waterways and was likely to have had an adverse effect on aquatic life and pollution levels."

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