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Environment Protection Authority

EPA Regulatory Action on Truegain Pty Limited: Update

Media release: 15 April 2016

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has suspended the Environment Protection Licence (EPL) for Truegain Pty Limited’s (also known as Australian Waste Oil Refineries) waste oil processing facility at Rutherford, near Maitland.

The suspension commenced on 1 April 2016 after the EPA received advice that the facility had been temporarily shut down by the operator due to the disconnection of natural gas supplies to the premises. The licensee uses natural gas to process waste oil at the site and to operate pollution control equipment.

Under the EPA’s licence suspension, Truegain is prohibited from processing waste and must immediately cease to receive wastes at the premises. The suspension will remain in place until the licensee provides written evidence that the natural gas supply to the premises has been reconnected.

In separate regulatory action, the EPA has approved and appointed an auditor nominated by Truegain to conduct a Mandatory Environmental Audit of the Rutherford facility. The EPA imposed the audit following ongoing concerns about the site’s poor regulatory history. The auditor must now report back to the EPA within six months, after determining:

  • The adequacy of controls and procedures to test waste products prior to processing and to identify contaminant concentration levels that could lead to pollution
  • The operation and maintenance of pollution control equipment
  • The adequacy of bundling and spill management for the storage of waste chemicals and materials
  • The potential for offsite impacts on groundwater from historical storage and spillages at the premises.

As previously reported, Truegain must meet the costs of the mandatory environmental audit, including the costs of the auditor.

In addition, the EPA and Hunter Water Corporation (HWC) continue to investigate the detection of perfluorinated compound (PFC) discharges at the Rutherford facility in January 2016.

The EPA has received sample results from material contained in storage tanks at the Truegain premises, which show a wide range of PFC levels in the tanks. As the material is safely contained in the tanks and there are no exposure pathways from these tanks, the EPA has determined that the tanks do not pose a threat to the environment or to human health.

HWC’s disconnection of Truegain from the sewage system and suspension of its tradewaste permit remain in place and will continue until Truegain can demonstrate that all sewer discharges are treated to an acceptable level.

Contact: EPA Public Affairs

Page last updated: 15 April 2016