A Central Coast recycling company has been fined $15,000 for allegedly failing to follow NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) orders to store chemicals safely to prevent potential pollution reaching local waterways.
The EPA directed PAR Recycling Services Pty Ltd to take immediate action to appropriately store drums, bags and containers holding 18 different chemicals on 14 November 2019.
An EPA inspection of the site on Wisemans Ferry Rd, Somersby, found 15,265 litres of liquid chemicals and 6,550 kilograms of solid chemicals stored in an area that did not have a bund or spill containment system.
EPA officers also discovered PAR Recycling did not have spill kits nearby to contain the chemicals in the event of a spill.
Despite a repeat visit from the EPA on 25 November 2019, PAR Recycling had not stored the chemicals in a containment system that met the required standard.
The EPA then issued PAR Recycling with a Prevention Notice requiring the chemicals be stored correctly or removed from the site by 29 November 2019.
The chemicals were finally removed from the premises on 10 January 2020.
EPA Director Regulatory Operations Metro North Adam Gilligan said PAR had previously been cautioned and fined for waste offences and breaches of environmental legislation.
“The impact of not installing environmental and pollution controls can include wide-ranging harm on the surrounding water, land, air and human health,” Mr Gilligan said.
“If the chemicals had spilt without containment, they could have entered the stormwater system and flowed to Piles Creek.
“Chemicals must be stored to prevent, control or minimise pollution and the EPA expects all operators to comply with the safety standards that are in place to protect the environment and the community.”
Penalty notices for failing to comply with a prevention notice are one of a number of tools the EPA can use to achieve environmental compliance. Other regulatory tools include formal warnings, official cautions, licence conditions, notices and directions and prosecutions.