Truegain site remediation set to begin

Remediation of a former waste oil facility in the Maitland suburb of Rutherford is set to begin, with the land now in the hands of the NSW Government.

The NSW Government has acquired the site and Property & Development NSW will lead the remediation work, with regulatory oversight from the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA).

Minister for Environment James Griffin said remediation will be completed in two stages, with all above-ground infrastructure and waste that is stored on site to be removed before work begins on soil and groundwater remediation.

“The shocking pollution at the Truegain site was one of the cases that led to the NSW Government’s recent legislative changes, which will help ensure similar circumstances are prevented in the future,” Mr Griffin said.

“Repairing environmental contamination is a lengthy process that can take years to rectify and can cost millions of dollars, which is why we gave the NSW EPA greater powers to prosecute those that cause land contamination or illegally dump waste.

“The new powers force those responsible for contamination and pollution to clean it up or manage it into the future, and not just walk away.”

Minister for Planning Anthony Roberts said now that Property & Development NSW has taken over the site, it will focus on the remediation process.

“This acquisition of the Truegain site demonstrates that the NSW Government is committed to remediating this site, which was contaminated by its previous owner,” Mr Roberts said.

“The property is now in the safe hands of the NSW Government and we’re thankful to the EPA, which has been tireless in its efforts to contain pollution on the site and limit any further pollution. Property & Development NSW will manage the site going forward.

“Remedial work will soon get underway, where we will once again collaborate with the EPA, which performs a regulatory role to ensure all works are being undertaken to the required standard.”

The former waste oil processing facility ceased operations in 2016 and Truegain was placed into liquidation soon after. In 2018, its environment protection licence was suspended.

Former site owner and Truegain Director Robert Pullinger was fined, convicted and ordered to pay the EPA more than $1.2 million, to help cover the costs of the site clean-up. Mr Pullinger was declared bankrupt in October 2021.

Criminal proceedings against Mr Pullinger for his failure to comply with the Clean-Up Notice issued by the EPA, and a Prohibition Notice issued by the Minister for the Environment, are currently before the Land and Environment Court.

For more information, please visit: https://www.dpie.nsw.gov.au/housing-and-property/divisions/property-and-development-nsw/environmental-service-group/truegain-site-remediation