EPA fines metal recycler $15k for dust emissions

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has fined Onesteel Recycling Pty Limited (operating as Infrabuild) $15,000 for failing to minimise dust emissions at its Hexham recycling plant.

EPA authorised officers inspecting the Infrabuild Sparke Street facility in June 2020 observed actions being taken to minimise dust emissions were insufficient during scrap metal transfers from a conveyor onto a metal stockpile, and from a front loader to a truck.

The EPA has issued a $15,000 penalty notice to Infrabuild for the alleged contravention of their Environment Protection Licence.

EPA Acting Director Regulatory Operations David Gathercole said uncontrolled dust emissions can be harmful to human health and the environment.

“In addition to observations during the site inspection, the EPA also has CCTV evidence provided by a neighbouring property, allegedly showing dust emissions emanating from the Infrabuild facility.

“Ongoing dust emissions have the potential to impact on the vegetation in the surrounding environment, particularly the Hunter Wetlands which are regionally significant,” Mr Gathercole said.

“Uncontrolled dust emissions can also potentially cause respiratory and cardiovascular health problems for community.” 

The EPA notes that Infrabuild is proposing to install a fence along the property boundary to help control and prevent dust migration from the site.    

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. 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