FINED: Austar coal.THE Chinese-backed Austar underground coalmine near Cessnock has been fined more than $115,000 for a septic tank spill into nearby Bellbird Creek in July last year.
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The NSW Environment Protection Authority took Austar to the Land and Environment Court, where the company pleaded guilty.

It was ordered to pay $75,000 toward an environmental rehabilitation project as well as more than $42,000 in legal costs.

EPA chief environmental regulator Mark Gifford said detergent, nutrients and faecal matter from the mine’s bath-house facilities washed into the creek from a 90-year-old septic system.