Healthy Environment, Healthy Community, Healthy Business

Environment Protection Authority

EPA fines J E T Group $15,000 for non-compliance

Media release: 11 January 2016

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has issued a $15,000 fine to J E T Group Australia Pty Ltd, for failing to remediate a contaminated wood stockpile at its Toronto premises near Lake Macquarie.

Cate Woods, A/Manager Regional Waste Compliance, NSW EPA said that over the last two years, the EPA has been taking action against J E T Group for unsatisfactory environmental practices associated with the running of the site, which trades as Oz Landscape Supplies.

“The EPA first became aware that J E T Group was operating a composting and resource recovery facility at its Toronto premises without an environment protection licence in November 2013. We’ve since issued a Clean Up Notice, a Prevention Notice and two Variations of the Prevention Notice to the company.”

“Under the most recent conditions of the Prevention Notice, J E T Group was required to remove a contaminated wood stockpile, that had been received at the site unlawfully, by no later than 30 November 2015. J E T Group has failed to comply with the deadline despite being provided with time extensions by the EPA.”

“Due to the location of the wood stockpile on the property, it could cause a pollution incident because chemicals, such as copper chrome arsenate, are able to leach into ground and surface water.  Additionally the timber could be processed into mulch and applied to customers gardens, exposing risks to human health and wider spread of contamination.”

Ms Woods said remediation of the contaminated stockpile is still required to be completed.

“The site is not licensed by the EPA and so it does not have all the environmental controls that the EPA would usually require to prevent this kind of offence in the first place.”

“This is a reminder to all waste companies to make sure their depots are properly licensed and have strong environmental practices in place.”

Penalty notices are 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 http://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/legislation/prosguid.htm.

Ends

Contact: Laura Brice

Page last updated: 11 January 2016