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Environment Protection Authority

Caltex pleads guilty to Banksmeadow pollution incident

Media release: 11 December 2015


Caltex Australia has pleaded guilty in the NSW Land and Environment Court today to a Tier 1 offence, under section 116 of the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 in relation to a pollution incident that occurred at its Banksmeadow terminal in 2013.


The EPA alleges that on 12 July 2013 Caltex was attempting to transfer unleaded petrol from a storage tank when a hose disconnected and about 157,000 litres of petrol rapidly discharged into the surrounding bunded area creating a large pool of petrol. This triggered an emergency response from NSW Fire and Rescue.


Chief Environmental Regulator for the Environment Protection Authority (EPA), Mark Gifford said the EPA’s prosecution of Caltex follows a comprehensive investigation into the incident at Caltex’s Banksmeadow terminal.


“Tier 1 offences under the Protection of Environment Operations Act 1997 are the most serious offences under legislation administered by the EPA and a prosecution requires approval from the EPA Board before commencement. This offence carries a maximum penalty of $2,000,000 for a corporation.”


The prosecution has been adjourned to 26 February 2016 to enable the parties to attempt to agree on facts before a sentence hearing is set down.


The EPA has a range of regulatory tools it can use to achieve environmental compliance, including formal warnings, licence conditions, notices and directions, mandatory audits, enforceable undertakings, legally binding pollution reduction programs and prosecutions. For more information about the EPA’s regulatory tools, see the EPA Compliance Policy.

Contact: Public Affairs

Page last updated: 11 December 2015