EPA fines Newcastle Stevedores $15,000

Newcastle Stevedores Pty Ltd has received a $15,000 fine following an unannounced inspection from the Environment Protection Authority in August 2018 when an EPA officer observed poor environmental controls during grain unloading, which led to pollution of the Newcastle Harbour.

EPA Director Hunter Karen Marler said the EPA alleges that Newcastle Stevedores did not have the right controls in place.

“Grain and dust was spilt during transfers from the ship to shore with insufficient measures, generally tarpaulins, used to prevent grain entering the harbour and additionally, with spilt grain not being cleaned up promptly.

“Grain spills can lead to reduced oxygen levels in harbour waters, which has a detrimental effect on maintaining a healthy harbour ecosystem.

“As a result of drought conditions, there are currently more grain handling activities in Newcastle Port.

“The EPA will continue to inspect unloading operations to ensure the appropriate controls are in place and ensure environmental impact is front of mind for all harbourside operators,” Mrs Marler said. 

The EPA was pleased to see improved environmental controls in place during a subsequent inspection of Newcastle Stevedores grain unloading operations.

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. In this instance the EPA issued a penalty notice to the company. The company may pay the penalty notice, seek a review, or elect to have the matter determined by a court. For more information about the EPA’s regulatory tools, see the EPA Compliance Policy at www.epa.nsw.gov.au/legislation/prosguid.htm