Port Waratah Coal fined $30,000 over incidents at Newcastle

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has fined Port Waratah Coal Services Pty Ltd $30,000 in relation to two separate incidents at the Port of Newcastle in November and December 2018.

EPA Regional Director North Adam Gilligan said coal and coal fines – small particles of coal – were identified in the harbour at the Kooragang and Carrington Coal terminals. The EPA issued two $15,000 Penalty Notices in relation to the alleged discharge of pollutants into the harbour.

“Port Waratah Coal Services advised the EPA that in the November incident, the shiploader at Kooragang Coal Terminal experienced a blockage that resulted in about 60kg of coal entering the harbour,” Mr Gilligan said.

“In December, it is alleged that about 80kg of contaminated water was discharged into the harbour at Carrington Coal Terminal after valves had not been closed during preparation for a shiploader washdown.

“Operators have a responsibility to not cause damage or potential damage to the environment, including the discharge of coal into the harbour waters,” Mr Gilligan said.

Port Waratah Coal Services took prompt action including a clean-up of the wharf area when the incidents were identified, limiting environmental impacts, and have put in place amended systems and procedures to prevent future recurrences.

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. When issued with a penalty notice, the notice recipient 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