The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) is investigating a series of hydrocarbon discharges into the Hunter River at Raymond Terrace.
A spokesperson from the EPA told News Of The Area that the leak has been traced back to small break in a fuel line at the Port Stephens Council Works Depot.
Port Stephens Council was first made aware of the diesel leak on 15 December 2016 via a call to the Environmental Line from a concerned community member.
Acting Port Stephens Council general manager Mike McIntosh said that as soon as Port Stephens Council was notified of the spill, they contacted the EPA and have been working closely with them ever since.
Port Stephens Council was served a Clean Up Notice which outlined a series of control measures including ensuring no hydrocarbons left the premises via stormwater discharges and engaging a petro chemical specialist to identify the source and reason for the incident.
Remediation measures included “pumping all potentially contaminated stormwater into storage tankers on site and disposing at a licensed waste facility,” Mr McIntosh said.
Following the initial spill, a power overload resulted in a second incident.
“Early on the morning of 2 January, a power overload on site caused our pumps to fail, which exacerbated the situation,” Mr McIntosh said.
“The EPA attended the site and directed Port Stephens Council to install extra booms to manage the risk of any further discharges to the River,” an EPA spokesperson said.
“We also noted that the majority of the hydrocarbon was contained in the stormwater system and the sheen had reduced in size.”
Residents in the vicinity of the leak have been contacted by Port Stephens Council.
“We letterboxed all residents in the vicinity of Boomerang Park on 23 December outlining what had occurred and have subsequently held a number of individual conversations with community members,” Mr McIntosh said.
“We then doorknocked and letterboxed local residents again on 6 January and we’ll correspond with them again once we have any new information to hand,” he said.
Mr McIntosh encouraged residents with any concerns or information to contact Port Stephens Council.
Initial contact can be made via the customer service line on (02) 4980 0255.