Kemps Creek waste facility fined $15,000 for inefficient use of odour controls
The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has fined Suez Resource and Recovery Pty Ltd $15,000 after equipment and procedural shortcomings at Suez Alternate Waste Facility in Kemps Creek increased the risk of offensive odours impacting surrounding properties.
The Kemps Creek facility is licensed to receive general solid waste for storage, resource recovery and composting. This primarily includes council waste collections of household garden waste and mixed rubbish.
Due to the generally odorous nature of these types of waste, there are strict conditions in Suez’s environment licence to minimise the odour impacts on surrounding properties.
After receiving odour complaints through its Environment Line, EPA officers visited the Elizabeth Drive site.
EPA Officers smelt a stale, sweet smell and identified three non-compliances with the environment licence that could contribute to offsite odour impacts:
- Organic waste material, mixed with sediment dam sludge from the site, had been left uncovered overnight, in an outdoor space, on February 1
- Three of the roller doors to the receiving hall (where trucks deliver the waste material) were left open when vehicles were not passing through, increasing the risk of offensive odour leaving the receival hall
- A section of the biofilter was empty, a device that filters exhaust air from the main receiving hall, without adequate replacement media to efficiently restore the biofilter to capacity.
EPA Director Waste Compliance Greg Sheehy said all three factors were contraventions of the conditions set on Suez’s Kemps Creek environment protection licence.
“Odours are an unavoidable part of many waste management operations but the EPA puts strict licence conditions in place to ensure these odours are contained at the site,” Mr Sheehy said.
“On this occasion, those conditions were not met. Our officers found not one but three factors that could contribute to offensive odour emissions, and the hefty fine is a reflection of that.”
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 http://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/legislation/prosguid.htm.
Anyone with concerns about waste activities can report to the EPA’s Environment Line on 131 555 or via firstname.lastname@example.org