Hosing spilt chemicals down drain leads to $15,000 fine from NSW EPA

NSW EPA

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has fined a Goulburn company $15,000 for polluting waters after herbicide was allegedly washed into a stormwater drain.

Wolfcon Pty Ltd did not notify emergency services authorities of the alleged spill of the herbicide Paraquat from a chemical spray truck on 30 November 2020.

The EPA launched an investigation after the spill was reported to the EPA’s 24-hour Environment Line by a member of the public the following day.

The herbicide was detected by EPA officers in the Mulwaree River 2.3 km downstream from the site of the spill on 2 December 2020.

EPA officers also noticed puddles of blue liquid on the ground at the premises. Testing later showed these puddles had high concentrations of Paraquat.

EPA Director Regulatory Operations Cate Woods said Wolfcon complied with clean-up directions once the EPA contacted them.

“The company told the EPA they spent four hours hosing the spilt herbicide into the stormwater as they were concerned for their worker’s safety,” she said.

“This resulted in natural waterways being polluted, with the Paraquat solution washed from the premises to the Mulwaree River via the stormwater system.

“The lesson here is do not try to clean up chemical spills yourself. The correct procedure is to call triple zero

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