Australia’s oldest and highest ski resort, Charlotte Pass Snow Resort, has been convicted by the NSW Land and Environment Court and ordered to pay over $200,000.


The conviction followed the discovery that the resort had polluted Spencers Creek, an alpine stream that flows from Mt Stillwell into the Snowy River, resulting in a $144,000 fine. 

Over 78 days in 2019, 14 million litres of partially-treated sewage water leaked into Spencers Creek.

The resort was also found in breach of its environmental protection license due to mismanagement and misoperation of its sewerage treatment plant and has been ordered to pay an additional $90,000 to cover NSW EPA’s investigation and legal costs. 

NSW Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) Chief Executive Officer, Tony Chappel, said, If you know that your equipment doesn’t meet the standards required, it must be addressed. Failure to do so is an unacceptable disregard of the environment’.

‘Most disappointingly, the offences were foreseeable with the resort having knowledge that the plant and equipment in question needed to be repaired.’

The sewage was found to have excessive levels of ammonia and nitrogen, both of which can have potentially drastic environmental impacts.

In small quantities, nitrogen and ammonia are essential to the functioning of an ecosystem, however large amounts can result in algal blooms. This depletes the oxygen in the water, making it difficult for other aquatic organisms to survive and reproduce.

The impact this has on national parks can be devastating.

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Mr Chappel said there’s an expectation that residents in national parks adhere to the high standards required.

‘Charlotte Pass and the surrounding Snowy Mountains are a much-loved attraction for families right across NSW and we expect everyone to do their part to protect the environment,’ he said

‘With wild rivers and mountains, this is a special place and the resort should have taken more care to protect it.’ 

Charlotte Pass Snow Resort plead guilty to the charge.


Feature photo thanks to Sam Christie