Qenos flare event attracts $1500 fine

The EPA has fined chemical manufacturer Qenos $1500 for a flare event that lasted up to 60 minutes from its Botany Bay plant on 26 May.

EPA Sydney Industry Manager Greg Sheehy said that the agency had investigated the incident following a self-report from the company and numerous complaints from residents.

“The flare event involved black smoke and flame emanating from the elevated flare for about an hour around 9.30pm,” Mr Sheehy said.

“It was the result of an emergency plant shutdown and subsequent on-site failure to generate enough steam which would mitigate smoke and odour emissions from the elevated flare.

“This was a clear breach of their licence and subsequently of section 64 of the Protection of the Environment Operations Act.

“Although visually confronting for some residents the EPA has determined that the incident posed no significant risk to the surrounding community,” Mr Sheehy said.

“Qenos were forthcoming in reporting the incident to the EPA in accordance with the new reporting requirements and then communicated information widely to the surrounding community in the following days.

“While the EPA is disappointed that this licence breach occurred we do recognise the efforts the company took to keep the community and authorities informed and engaged.”

Mr Sheehy said that the operation of the flare is an important component of the plant’s safety system to safely manage process-gas during an emergency shutdown.

“However it does need to be operated in a manner that minimises any smoke and odour emissions from impacting on the environment.”