EPA fines concrete supplier $23K for water pollution

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has fined concrete supplier Hymix Australia Pty Ltd for an alleged water pollution incident and allegedly failing to operate control equipment in a proper and efficient manner.

The EPA inspected the Hymix concrete batching plant at Kincumber, near Gosford on 19 October 2020 in response to community concerns over dirty water pollution coming from the plant.

During the inspection, EPA officers found evidence of concrete waste water discharging into a stormwater drain on Cochrone Street which leads to Kincumber Creek. Officers also noted that a pump in the settling pit was not operating, which would normally send dirty water back to a holding tank for re-use. The discharges had elevated pH levels and total suspended solids, with the potential to cause harm to the local environment.

The EPA has issued Hymix with a $15,000 penalty for the alleged water pollution and an $8,000 penalty for allegedly failing to properly operate control equipment. Hymix was also issued with a Clean-up Direction and Prevention Notice to address ongoing surface water management issues at the Hymix plant.

EPA Director Regulatory Operations Adam Gilligan said he expected compliance at the Hymix site to improve as a result of the penalties.

“It is important that companies like Hymix take their environmental management responsibilities seriously so that their activities don’t impact the surrounding environment.

“Concrete waste can increase the pH of surrounding waters and has the potential to harm aquatic life and pollute water for those that rely on it,” Mr Gilligan said.

“Operators must deal with all materials, including waste water, appropriately to help protect the local environment.”

Hymix’s prior compliance record and lack of voluntary action to mitigate harm was also taken into consideration by the EPA.

Penalty notices are one of a number of tools the EPA can use to achieve environmental compliance, including formal warnings, licence conditions, notices and directions, mandatory audits, legally binding pollution reduction programs, enforceable undertakings and prosecutions.

For more information about the EPA’s regulatory tools, see the EPA Compliance Policy http://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/legislation/prosguid.htm.