Pollution Incident Response Management Plan

This Pollution Incident Response Management Plan (PIRMP) summarises the rationale and approach undertaken by Hunter Water to manage any incidents involving our assets, the environment, customers or staff.

Incidents involving our assets may include water or sewer system failures or damage to our infrastructure caused by natural or malicious hazards.

Pollution Incident Response Management Plan

Learn how we manage incidents our assets or operations.

What to do in the event of an incident

  1. If an incident has occurred involving a Hunter Water asset and/or activity and the situation is potentially life threatening you should call 000 in the first instance.
  2. Any persons wishing to report an incident involving our assets and/or activities must call the 24 hour emergency fault hotline on 1300 657 000.
  3. Our control centre operators will assess the situation and potential consequences, prioritise the response based on intelligence gathered, contact/dispatch designated operational staff to attend the incident or advise of a course of action based on the prioritisation assessment and advise of any specific hazards which may be present at the location of the incident.
  4. We will escalate the incident when necessary and notify relevant stakeholders based on information we receive from our field resources.
  5. We adhere to NSW State Emergency Management Arrangements meaning that key emergency service organisations such as NSW Police, Fire and Rescue NSW and the SES may be the controlling authority depending on the nature of the incident.

Communications with stakeholders during incidents

Once an incident has been categorised, we use our systems and procedures to identify and notify all relevant stakeholders and to update identified stakeholders with any changing circumstances. We have specialist resources to draw upon to assist with stakeholder communications during incidents.

Communications with customers during incidents

We often receive information relating to system faults, for example, sewer manhole overflows, water leaks and breaks from members of the public via the 1300 657 000 emergency fault phone line. We utilise several methods of communication to inform customers of incidents including:

  • website homepage incident alerts
  • radio and media broadcasts
  • use of field based staff (usually first to respond to incidents) to communicate with customers who are or who may be impacted by an incident via door knocking
  • warning signage
  • use of specialist customer services staff to communicate with customers following major incidents.

Communications with relevant authorities and stakeholders

In the event of a pollution incident, the following authorities are immediately notified in accordance with the requirements of the Protection of the Environment Legislation Amendment Act 2011:

  • NSW Environment Protection Authority
  • Local Councils
  • NSW Ministry of Health - Hunter New England Health
  • WorkCover NSW
  • Fire and Rescue NSW

Other key stakeholders which may need to be notified of incidents include NSW Police, NSW Energy and Utility Services Functional Area Coordinator (EUSFAC), NSW State Emergency Service (SES), NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS), NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW Food Authority), NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service.

Potential hazards at Hunter Water assets

There are a number of potential hazards to human health and the environment associated with our operations. Specific information relating to potential hazards at any of our assets may be obtained by contacting our team.

Be prepared for bush fires

Some areas of the Lower Hunter, including Hunter Water assets are located near, or in, bush fire prone areas. In NSW the statutory bush fire danger period runs from October 1 until March 31, however this may vary due to local conditions. For important information and updates, refer to the Rural Fire Service website.


  • Be aware of daily fire danger ratings for your location and destinations
  • During a 'Total Fire Ban' no fire may be lit in the open. This includes barbecues that burn solid fuel e.g. wood or charcoal
  • Fill sinks, bath, buckets, or containers with fresh water in case the water supply is disrupted