EPA fines tile manufacturer $16,000

A Rutherford tile manufacturer is facing $16,000 in fines and two Official Cautions for breaching its environmental licence conditions.

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) alleges that National Ceramic Industries Australia Pty Ltd failed to publish monitoring data in accordance with regulatory requirements and breached their licence load limit for fluoride emissions.

EPA Director Hunter Karen Marler said this was not the first time the licensee has failed to comply with load limits.

“The fluoride load limit exceedance is a serious matter, because it may indicate issues with the air pollution controls at the premises,” Mrs Marler said.

“National Ceramic Industries Australia Pty Ltd must improve their operational controls to ensure compliance with their licence conditions, or face tougher regulatory action in the future.

“It is also important that the community has access to industry monitoring data to be able to check on industry performance and be informed about their local environment, and it is a requirement under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 that licensees publish monitoring results.

“Licensees have a responsibility to ensure that they are complying with their regulatory responsibilities at all times to ensure public and environmental health is protected.”

National Ceramic Industries was issued with two fines totalling $16,000 for these alleged offences.

Two Official Cautions were also issued for providing false and misleading information in an Annual Return and for breaching the licenced concentration limit for fluoride emissions.

The EPA will consider a Pollution Reduction Program which would require National Ceramic Industries to investigate measures to reduce their fluoride emissions.

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