6/12/23: Woolgoolga (New South Wales) Water Pollution, Pesticide Offences

EPA inspects North Coast farms for pesticide practices


The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) is undertaking a series of pesticide compliance campaigns in the North Coast region throughout summer to ensure farmers are complying with environmental laws.

EPA Director of Operations Steve Orr said EPA officers will be inspecting intensive horticultural farms in the Woolgoolga region near Coffs Harbour and further north near Ballina to check for appropriate pesticide use, storage, record-keeping and wastewater management.

“Our inspections coincide with the summer growing season to ensure that crop-growers are always using pesticides responsibly to protect the environment and local waterways,” Mr Orr said.

“This campaign is building on previous work done with the intensive horticulture industry to reduce the potential impacts of pesticides from these activities.

“Since 2021, we have carried out more than 40 inspections of horticultural farms in the Woolgoolga region, resulting in 15 penalty notices, 7 official cautions, 8 formal warnings and 14 advisory letters issued for a range of water pollution and pesticide offences.

“We are following up with some of those farms we had previously visited to ensure that operators have taken adequate steps to improve their practices.

“This includes requirements for some growers to upgrade their wastewater capture and irrigation systems as well as their pesticide storage areas.

“We are also using intelligence to identify farms that we have not previously visited, so that a wider range of growers are reminded of their obligations under the Pesticides Act.

“We will continue to work closely with councils, industry and grower associations to increase awareness of pesticide regulations and how to spray safely this summer.”

EPA officers will provide resources and hear from local farmers about their pesticide use, as well as checking pesticide storage areas, water management and record-keeping practices.

For more information about preventing pesticide misuse in horticultural farms, see: https://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/your-environment/pesticides/preventing-pesticide-misuse/campaigns-investigations/intensive-horticulture-and-protected-cropping

To find out more about the EPA’s compliance campaigns in the Woolgoolga region, see: https://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/your-environment/pesticides/preventing-pesticide-misuse/campaigns-investigations/woolgoolga-compliance-inspections