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Environment Protection Authority

Bega Cheese Ltd issued with $15,000 penalty for excessive smoke

Media release: 15 December 2015

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has issued Bega Cheese Ltd (BCL) a $15,000 penalty notice for using wet sawdust fuel in its wood-fired boiler at the Lagoon Street premises, leading to a discharge of excessive smoke.

The EPA became aware of the issue on the 2nd of September when a resident called to complain about excessive smoke from the BCL premises.

The resulting EPA investigation found that BCL either took delivery of wet sawdust fuel or stored it in such a manner that allowed it to become wet from rain, and that it had also failed to have an alternate fuel source in place as a contingency.

Julian Thompson, EPA South East Region Manager said “BCL knew the wet sawdust fuel was unsuitable for use in the wood-fired boiler and had the potential to cause excessive smoke discharges, yet continued to use it.

“The EPA has therefore issued BCL this $15,000 penalty notice for failing to operate the wood-fired boiler in a competent manner, which is an offense under the POEO Act and a breach of their licence conditions.”

“BCL has indicated that they are working on rectifying the issues. The EPA expects that issuing of this fine will see an improved performance by the company” Mr Thompson said.

Penalty notices are just one of a number of tools the EPA 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.

The EPA must also take a range of factors into account before delivering a proportionate regulatory response, including the degree of environmental harm, whether or not there are any real or potential health impacts, if the action of the offender was deliberate, compliance history, public interest and best environmental outcomes.

For more information about the EPA’s regulatory tools, see the EPA Compliance Policy



Contact: Public Affairs

Page last updated: 15 December 2015