A commercial flower growing business that allowed thousands of litres of fuel oil to spill into a Moorooduc waterway has been ordered to pay Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) $500,000 in compensation and fined $150,000.
On Wednesday 11 March, Aaree Pty Ltd and its director Admir Isovski, faced five charges at Frankston Magistrates Court under Section 27A(1), Section 39(1) and Section 55(6) of the Environment Protection Act 1970 for causing environmental hazard, pollution of water and failing to comply with the requirements of an EPA notice
The incident occurred in July 2017 at Barakee Reserve Outfall Drain in Moorooduc when a greenhouse, which used a water heater fueled by waste oil, caught fire causing damage to the generator which then started to leak oil into the nearby drain.
EPA received calls from concerned residents who reported seeing black oil in the Barakee Reserve Outfall Drain and a private drain leading to the Reserve.
Given the extent of the oil spill which spread over a kilometre of the system, Melbourne Water was engaged to do an extensive clean-up that took two months to remove 1.2 million litres of liquid waste, 687 tonnes of soil waste and 45 tonnes of other contaminated waste.
The Court also ordered Aaree Pty Ltd to pay EPA costs to the amount of $11,663 and sentenced Admir Isovski to 200 hours of community work.
EPA Southern Metropolitan Regional Manager Marleen Mathias said ultimately it was the responsibility of the duty holder to have controls in place to manage environmental risks and on this occasion a lack of controls resulted in a major pollution event.
“In this instance, the community has carried a large part of the cost of the clean-up and the fine and the compensation will help redress some of this imbalance,” said Ms Mathias