EPA fines Port Kembla Milling $30,000 for poor storage practices

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has fined Port Kembla Milling $30,000 for allegedly storing raw materials in the open which is in breach of their licence conditions.

Raw materials, including gypsum and limestone, were allegedly stored in the open at the Port Kembla facility on at least five occasions since January 2016. It is a strict requirement of the facility’s planning approval and licence conditions that these materials be stored in an enclosed location to prevent dust emissions.

The EPA determined these conditions had not been met, and that the company had breached its licence requirement to carry out its processing and storage activities in a competent manner. The EPA issued two penalties notices of $15,000 each for breaching the two licence conditions.

“The requirement to store materials in an enclosed building is a key way to ensure dust emissions from bulk materials are prevented.  A measure that is very important given the residential areas near Port Kembla port,” EPA Regional Director Metropolitan Giselle Howard said.

“While the outdoor storage of the material caused no environmental harm on this occasion and there were no recorded dust impacts on residents, the licence conditions are there to manage environmental risks bulk materials facilities can pose.”

In addition to the fines, the EPA has also required Port Kembla Milling to complete an independent raw materials handling audit to confirm appropriate storage and management systems are put in place. The company has made some initial steps to respond to this request, and the EPA will continue to work with the licensee to ensure full compliance.

Penalty notices are one of a number of tools the EPA can use to achieve environmental compliance including formal warnings, official cautions, licence conditions, notices and directions and prosecutions. For more information about the EPA’s regulatory tools, see the EPA Compliance Policy at www.epa.nsw.gov.au/legislation/prosguid.htm