Healthy Environment, Healthy Community, Healthy Business

Environment Protection Authority

EPA issues Visy Paper with prevention notice

Media release: 8 February 2016

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has issued Visy Paper with a prevention notice requiring the company to fix an odour problem at its Smithfield premises or face maximum penalties for non-compliance.   

EPA officers detected an odour issue at the premises during an unannounced site inspection in November 2015.

The EPA subsequently issued Visy with a Penalty Infringement Notice for the emission of offensive odours, and instructed the company to undertake all reasonable actions to prevent further emissions of odours beyond the boundary of the premises.

Since then, the EPA has received further reports from local residents alleging offensive odours from the premises.

Greg Sheehy, NSW EPA Acting Director Metropolitan Branch, said “in response to community concerns, EPA officers conducted an odour survey on 11 January 2016 where they detected garbage and wet cardboard odours had emitted beyond the southern boundary of the premises.

“The EPA subsequently met with Visy on 13 January to confirm the actions Visy will be required to implement to adequately control all potential sources of offensive odour at the Smithfield plant to prevent the emission of offensive odours beyond the boundary of the plant by February 2016.

“Visy must also engage a suitable qualified and independent consultant to undertake an odour impact assessment of the premises to identify, quantify and prioritise odour sources and provide a detailed report on this activity to the EPA by March 2016.”

The maximum penalty for non-compliance with official prevention notices is $1,000,000 for corporations, and a further $120,000 for each day the offence continues. The maximum penalty for an individual is $250,000 and a further $60,000 for each day the offence continues.

 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: Public Affairs

Page last updated: 10 February 2016