There is lots of information online about Centennial Coal’s Clarence Colliery spilling tonnes of coal fines spill into the World Heritage listed Wollangambe River (for example see here: http://www.colongwilderness.org.au/news/2015/wild-wollangambe-river-trouble).

This post is named after the Facbook group created by Alex: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1418903758440107/ – Lots of updates here, so join if you can.

Keith from the Colong Foundation organised a trip last Sat. I went out to have a first hand look; the photos don’t show the true extent of the damage.
I think it is important that people have a look with their own eyes to become aware of the dire straits the river is in.

The colliery has been polluting the river for many years. Aquatic life is is in trouble. “The mine’s wastewater is associated with a 90% drop in macroinvertebrates in the river, which has the potential to affect larger animals in the food chain” (including the endangered Macquarie Perch).

Party: Lots – 17 people (Keith, Alex, Karren, Dad, D. Noble, Wendy, Rochel, Gavin Coote (ABC)…)

After meeting at the Zig Zag Railway we car pooled and headed part way down a firetrail off Sandham Rd.

We looked at two sites one about 1km down from the entrance point and then a second about 2km down where a clean side stream enters the river.

A guy from the ABC (Gavin Coote) and another from the EPA attended.

The state of the river was worse than I had expected and the photos I had seen didn’t portray the true extent of the damage to me.

 The river is coated with a thick layer of goop!

 

Alex found life in the side creek nearly straight away, but after searching for some time we failed to find anything in the polluted Wollangambe!

Notice a difference in colour of a side creek entering the ‘Gambe?

Here is the article Gavin Coote wrote up:
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-03/conservationists-team-up-with-authorities-to-assess-damage-of-l/6667120

 

Here is David Nobles report: http://www.david-noble.net/blog/?p=8584
Reproduced here:

Wollangambe River – Pollution Inspection – 1 August 2015

It was very distressing to see first hand the terrible pollution in the Wollangambe River. I was in a group of 17 people that walked down to two points in the river from Newnes Junction last Saturday.

The map below shows where the pollution – coal fines, entered the Wollangambe River, and thus into Blue Mountains National Park and the World Heritage Area. The red arrow shows the entry point. The two red crosses show our inspection areas. The green line marks the Blue Mountains National Park boundary.

WollangambePollution

The first inspection point was about 1 km below the entry point. The whole of the riverbed appeared to be covered in a thick deposit of a black substance. The river itself had a black colour.

Polluted Wollangambe River