Failure to do rehabilitation work leads to $320,000 in fines

A company has been convicted and fined $320,000 in the Land and Environment Court for failing to comply with a contaminated land Management Order issued by the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) in relation to a petrol station in Kanwal on the Central Coast.

Zoya Investments Pty Ltd plead guilty to the offence, which occurred when it failed to undertake rectification works on its underground petrol storage system and provide a report to the EPA detailing those works.

EPA Executive Director Steve Beaman said the site had been declared significantly contaminated following an assessment by the EPA in 2018.

“The EPA found the soil and groundwater beneath the site was contaminated by petrol and had potential to impact human health and the surrounding environment,” Mr Beaman said.

“We have a high standard for protecting local communities and by not rectifying the identified problems, Zoya Investments has fallen short of this standard.”

The Court found that Zoya Investments had breached the Contaminated Land Management Act 1997 and issued a fine of $180,000 and a further penalty of $140,000 for the time it took for Zoya Investments to ultimately comply with the Management Order.

Mr Beaman said the severity of the fine, particularly the additional cost for not complying with the Management Order for approximately a year, served as a strong deterrent to other operators.

“The EPA expects timely responses to environmental issues and the punishments are severe when companies ignore orders and continue to put the environment and human health at risk.

“The rectification works at the site have now concluded and a report has been provided to the EPA.”

The Court also ordered Zoya to publish notice of the offence in two publications with the Australasian Convenience and Petroleum Marketers Association (ACAPMA), and to pay the EPA’s legal costs.

Zoya Investments’ Director, Rizwan Rana, was separately convicted and fined last month for failing to comply with an EPA investigation notice.

People can report concerns regarding pollution and other environment incidents to the EPA on 131 555.

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