Truegain site owner prosecuted, debt recovery underway

Environment Minister Matt Kean has today announced that prosecution and debt recovery proceedings have been launched against the owner of the former Truegain site in Rutherford, Mr Robert Pullinger. The Truegain site was formerly the premises of a waste oil processing company.

These prosecutions, brought by the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA), include allegedly failing to produce records, documents and other information required by EPA notices.

In addition, debt recovery proceedings have been launched to recover more than one million dollars ($1,178,940) spent by the EPA cleaning up and managing stormwater and wastewater at the site to keep the site safe for the community and environment.

“The site’s owner has had numerous opportunities to clean up his act, so far he has done nothing,” Mr Kean said.

“I’ve inspected these premises myself and it’s clear we need to use every power we have to make sure those responsible are held accountable for their actions.”

Significant regulatory action has previously been taken against Truegain, with the EPA issuing 18 penalty notices and successfully prosecuting the company twice in the NSW Land & Environment Court.

The EPA suspended Truegain’s environment protection licence in 2016 and then revoked the licence in 2018.

The owner was also ordered to remove all liquid waste from the premises’ spill containment system and lawfully dispose of it, and then do so again within 48 hours of any rainfall event.

The site is currently the subject of a Prohibition Notice issued in August 2020 by the NSW Environment Minister, which requires Mr Pullinger to stop storing waste and other substances at the site.

Truegain has gone into liquidation and Mr Pullinger claims he is unable to pay for the clean-up.

The EPA is continuing to monitor the site, especially during rain events, ensuring the highest protections to the environment and the local community are maintained.