Hazardous waste company fined $15K for unsafe storage

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has fined Environmental Treatment Solutions Pty Ltd $15,000 for allegedly failing to safely store hazardous chemicals at its Minto waste facility.

On 3 July 2020, the EPA inspected Environmental Treatment Solutions and found evidence of an alleged non-compliance with the company’s Environment Protection Licence for the unsafe storage of multiple chemicals, which should have been safely stored separately.

Certain types of chemicals should not be stored near each other due to the risk of a fire or explosion if there are leaks or spills.

EPA Director Regulatory Operations Giselle Howard said the $15,000 fine reflects the seriousness of the matter and the risk of a dangerous reaction.

“Our inspection found more than four tonnes of mixed hazardous wastes in the receivals area. These included oxidizing agents, acids, alkalis, flammable liquids and gases, and combustible compounds.

“The EPA directed the company to sort and segregate these chemicals, to create a safe environment.

“At close proximity, these types of chemicals can interact in the event of a leak or spill. The potential outcome can be extremely dangerous.

“The local community and neighbouring businesses have an expectation that licensees will comply with the rules and their licence requirements and have practices in place to protect people and the environment.”

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 on the EPA website.