Western Sydney waste operator fined over waste storage breaches

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has fined western Sydney waste operator CMA Ecocycle $15,000 for alleged waste storage offences at their St Marys premises.

The company holds an Environment Protection Licence to process mercury waste which includes fluorescent light tubes and globes, carbon filters and other mercury-containing waste such as photographic liquid waste and dental amalgam.

EPA Director Regulatory Operations Rob Hogan said the correct storage of waste was essential to keeping the community safe by reducing the likelihood of incidents that might impact the community or the environment.

“The rules and regulations around how CMA Ecocycle manages these materials is clearly set out in their licence, and designed to reduce risks associated with the storage of this particular waste,” Mr Hogan said.

“The EPA expects all operators to comply with the requirements of their licence to ensure the health and safety of the community, the environment and all company employees.”

During an EPA inspection on 21 September 2020, EPA officers found numerous instances of alleged poor environmental management, including waste being stored in uncontained areas in case of a spill, wastes being stored without proper segregation and in areas not set up for hazardous waste storage.

The EPA has fined the company for not carrying out waste processing, which includes waste storage, in a competent manner.

The company was also issued with an Official Caution for storing waste beyond levels permitted, including storing more than five tonnes of lead acid batteries and for failing to keep a Pollution Incident Response Management Plan at the premises.

The company has since complied with a Clean Up Notice issued by the EPA.

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