Local, Science/Environment

Pesticide use at Hearnes Lake non-compliant

An investigation into a fish kill at Hearnes Lake, north of Coffs Harbour, has found 25 instances of alleged non-compliance with pesticide use.

Hearnes Lake

Investigations were carried out by the EPA, following the fish kill in March last year, but found no evidence to directly link the alleged non-compliances with the dead fish.

The EPA says they were unable to identify the cause or sources of the high levels of chlorpyrifos found in the fish samples – however the pesticide is used in horticulture and for residential termite treatments – both of which occur in the area.

Press Release from the Sandy Beach Action Group – 4 September 2019


  1. I am totally gobsmacked at the EPA weak response to the fish kill in Hearnes Lake.The article quotes 25 instances of alleged non-compliance of the pesticide and they were unable to identify the source of the chemical chlorpyrifos.I have been involved in horticulture for over 35 years and I am legally required to hold a chemical certificate to use such toxic chemicals .This chemical is banned in most european countries and only approved for commercial operations in the USA.There has been a strong action group in the US to ban this toxic chemical totally.Half a cup of this concentrate was enough to kill all shrimp and insect life along 15km of a river in the UK in 2013.This poisoning in Hearnes Lake most likely came from a commercial horticultural operation near Hearnes Lake .You dont need to be a rocket scientist to realise it was commercial work with related heavy rain and runoff .The EPA needs to look closely at any commercial operation nearby that includes fruit growing ,golf courses and possibly deliberate poisoning ?

  2. Sad as it is they cannot say who is to blame because all 25 were recklessly using this highly toxic chemical illegally. Remember this kind of arrogant disregard for our health and our environment has been going on since the late 70’s in the coffs harbour / woolgoolga area ; birth defects of facial deformity , spina bifida ,heart / lung / urethra defects etc. etc from 1980 onwards are 7 times the national average , and were caused by the same types of chemicals still illegally used today by these selfish environmental vandals. You’ve got no excuses , you just don’t give a crap about other people or the environment . I think they need to start confiscating properties responsible and using their sale to fund remediating the damaged people, soil and water they are responsible for.

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