Leak at chemical plant costs company $242,000 after EPA action

EPA NSW

Sydney manufacturing company Jalco Australia Pty Limited has entered into an Enforceable Undertaking with the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) to contribute $200,000 to a local environmental project following a water pollution incident.

On 18 March 2019, Jalco reported to the EPA that a 180,000 litre tank containing wastewater had collapsed at its premises at Woodpark Road, Smithfield. Some of the wastewater left the premises and entered the local stormwater system in the Prospect Creek catchment area, which is a breach of NSW environment protection legislation.

Prospect Creek runs through western Sydney into the Georges River, which flows into Botany Bay. The catchment provides habitat for freshwater turtles and frogs, as well as allowing for important movements of native fish. The EPA does not allege that the incident caused them direct harm.

Under the terms of the Enforceable Undertaking, Jalco will pay $200,000 to Cumberland Council to fund an environmental audit program which will benefit the local area through audits of local commercial and industrial facilities for compliance with environmental legislation.

In addition, Jalco has undertaken to pay the EPA’s investigation and legal costs of $42,000 and make improvements to its premises, including equipment. The Enforceable Undertaking also requires Jalco to make changes to its policies and procedures, as well as place notices of the Enforceable Undertaking in local media.

EPA Director, Metro South Operations Giselle Howard said the financial undertaking was substantial, and would be put to good use.

“This outcome commits Jalco to making improvements to their site and provides important resources for Cumberland Council to continue their role in regulating industry while relieving ratepayers of the cost of industry compliance.”

The company holds an Environment Protection Licence that authorises chemical production activities at its premises at Woodpark Road, Smithfield in western Sydney.

Enforceable Undertakings are one of a number of tools the EPA can use to achieve environmental compliance. Through an Enforceable Undertaking, the EPA may secure outcomes such as environmental restoration measures or contributions to environmental projects. The undertaking is enforceable by the Land and Environment Court.

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