NSW EPA fines Crawford Freightlines after repeated warnings

Crawfords Freightlines has been fined $15,000 by the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) for allegedly failing to respond to repeated warnings about the storage and disposal of bark chip waste at its Werris Creek intermodal freight facility.

The facility fumigates logs before they are sent to Newcastle by rail for export. Handling the logs generates bark chip waste, which the company originally scraped into a stockpile to maintain the yard surface.

EPA officers were initially concerned by the height of these piles, which they believed posed a fire hazard. On several occasions they discussed with Crawfords the need for the company to remove the bark chip from the site.

In July 2020, Crawfords Freightlines spread the bark chip over a separate nearby property owned by the company, following concerns about potential fire hazard.

The neighbouring land had no runoff controls, creating the potential for tannic acid from the bark chips to pollute nearby creeks during rainfall. The bark also created a fire hazard.

Following written warnings in July 2021, regular site inspections and a show cause warning in August, the EPA issued Crawfords Freightlines with a Penalty Infringement Notice for $15,000 on 22 November.

The Penalty was for allegedly pushing excess bark chip waste from its licensed premises onto a neighbouring property for disposal. This is the largest fine the EPA can issue under its legislation.

Penalty notices are one of several 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 at http://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/legislation/prosguid.htm.