EPA fines Cleanaway Operations $15,000

Cleanaway Operations Pty Ltd has been fined $15,000 and issued with a range of Pollution Reduction Programs by the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) for allegedly failing to maintain pollution control infrastructure at its waste processing and storage facility in Homebush Bay.

EPA Director Hazardous Materials, Chemicals and Radiation Asela Atapattu said the fine was issued after an inspection at the Homebush Bay Liquid Treatment Plant identified contaminated liquid leaking into the stormwater management system.

“Along with the fine, a series of Pollution Reduction Programs were also issued requiring Cleanaway to assess and improve its pollution controls at the facility,” Mr Atapattu said.

“It is a condition of Cleanaway’s Environment Protection Licence that all plant and equipment be maintained and operated in a proper and efficient manner.

“While there was no impact to the environment on this occasion the EPA considers this alleged licence breach to be serious. Failing to maintain plant and equipment associated with storing hazardous liquid can pose a significant risk of environmental harm.

“Cleanaway’s failure to do this resulted in contaminated liquid, in addition to that from the corrosive tank bund, making its way in to the first flush chamber of the stormwater management system.

“At the direction of EPA officers, Cleanaway took immediate steps to remove this liquid from each reservoir within the stormwater management system to prevent it potentially overflowing and escaping the site.

“Cleanaway has also subsequently undertaken a range of remedial actions including engaging a contractor to refurbish the bunding, pumping out and cleaning the first flush chamber and updating its stormwater management practices.”

Penalty notices and Pollution Reduction Programs are two of a number of tools the EPA can use to achieve environmental compliance. Other regulatory tools include formal warnings, official cautions, licence conditions, notices, 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