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Environment Protection Authority

EPA takes regulatory action against Hydromet for water pollution

Media release: 1 March 2016

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has issued a clean-up notice to Hydromet Corporation Pty Ltd, ordering an assessment of contamination in soils and groundwater in the vicinity of a stormwater drain close to its Tomago premises near Newcastle. 

The assessment was triggered by the detection of elevated selenium levels in the drain and the intent of the notice is to determine the extent of this contamination.

EPA Hunter Manager, Adam Gilligan, said that in addition to testing for selenium, the EPA has ordered Hydromet to sample soils and groundwater in the drainage lines for a full suite of metals. 

"The notice requires Hydromet to assess the extent of the contamination so that appropriate clean-up can be undertaken. It is important that the environment is protected and any impacts are rectified,” he said.

This latest regulatory measure follows previous action taken by the EPA against Hydromet at Tomago. 

In August 2014 Hydromet was fined for incorrect storage of hazardous chemicals and was subsequently directed to remove 2000 tonnes of chemicals from the property. In October 2015 the company was directed to remove all hazardous waste and chemicals by March 2016. 

Clean up notices and mandatory audits are just some of a number of tools the EPA can use to achieve environmental compliance. Others include additional licence conditions, enforceable undertakings and prosecutions.

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

Contact: Public Affairs

Page last updated: 01 March 2016