THE NSW Environment Protection Authority has slapped City of Newcastle with $55,000 in fines for water pollution.
The authority took the council to court over the three separate incidents between March and June last year.
The court ordered the council pay the fines and publish details of the offences. It has also been ordered to pay the EPA's costs of roughly $50,000.
The NSW EPA said two of the offences involved contaminated water discharging into Wentworth Creek from a sediment pond at Summerhill tip due to a faulty valve.
The other offence also affected Wentworth Creek, with water laden with sediment and ammonia discharging over the wall of a pond.
The magistrate found the offences were foreseeable and there were practical steps that could have avoided them, but also noted the council was contrite and have funded improvements.
EPA chief environmental regulator David Fowler said the decision was an example to weigh up potential risks.
"The EPA hopes the fines will serve as a deterrent and encourages licence holders to take steps to avoid polluting our state's waterways."