Healthy Environment, Healthy Community, Healthy Business

Environment Protection Authority

AGL signs an Enforceable Undertaking to address licence non-compliances

Media release: 9 August 2013

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has considered and agreed to a proposal from AGL for an Enforceable Undertaking (EU). Investigations by the EPA indicated that AGL had not complied with several Environment Protection Licence (EPL) conditions in relation to the continuous monitoring of air emissions between 2009 to 2012.

The EPA’s Chief Environmental Regulator, Mark Gifford said the licence non-compliances were first reported to EPA by AGL in Mid 2012 when the EPA tightened laws which required companies to publicly report all monitoring data collected under an EPL.

“The licence non-compliances relate to failure to maintain and operate equipment; failure to continuously monitor emissions; and failure to meet proper sampling requirements to monitor concentrations of pollutants discharged.

“The EPA considers an EU is an appropriate enforcement response in this instance rather than prosecution because it will achieve an effective and long term resolution and more directly benefits the environment and community.

“AGL holds an Environment Protection Licence issued by the EPA for the Rosalind Park Gas Plant which forms part of the Camden Gas Scheme.”

“AGL is required to continuously monitor and report on their emissions. Whilst full continuous monitoring for Nitrogen Oxides did not occur between 2009 and 2012, quarterly stack testing was conducted in accordance with the EPL. The quarterly results show compliance with the tight licence limits.

“AGL has stated that the cause was due to oversight combined with a lack of understanding by staff. AGL has already implemented various measures to prevent a recurrence.

“Whilst the AGL non-compliances with licence conditions did not cause a significant impact on the environment, it is vital that the community and government have accurate and reliable information about its emissions.

“The EU is a public and legally binding written agreement to address poor conduct put forward by a Company to the regulator as an alternative to prosecution. The EU recognises that AGL has taken active responsibility for the offence and implemented all necessary measures to address licence breaches.

The EU contains a detailed description of the non-compliances that concerned the EPA, AGL’s acknowledgement of these and the actions taken to address the licence non-compliances. These actions include the installation of new air monitoring equipment, a detailed review of air monitoring requirements and changes to reporting and auditing systems.

The EU requires AGL to pay $150,000 to a “Love Your Lagoons” environmental education and management project in the local area that will be implemented by the University of Western Sydney. AGL will also pay the EPA’s investigation and legal costs totalling $10,000. These payments are over and above the costs to AGL to bring the premises back into compliance with licence requirements.

The environmental enhancement component of the EU was proposed by AGL and developed in consultation with the AGL Community Consultative Committee.

The EPA takes all non-compliances seriously and our regulatory decisions are guided by the principles outlined in the EPA Prosecution Guidelines.

A copy of the AGL EU can be viewed on the EPA Public Register at the following address http://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/resources/prpoeo/undertakingEPA0011.pdf

Contact: Catharina Boer

Page last updated: 27 September 2013