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Environment Protection Authority

Downer EDI issued $8000 fine for air pollution

Media release: 6 July 2016

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has issued a penalty notice of $8000 and an official caution to Downer EDI Works Pty Ltd (Downer) for an air pollution incident which occurred on 16 March 2016.

Richard Whyte, EPA Manager Central West, said the fine and caution were for failing to properly maintain and operate a vehicle used to store and apply fine hydrated lime for a local road construction project.

“On the morning of the 16 March, an EPA Officer was travelling on the Castlereagh Highway and observed a plume of white dust being emitted from a stationary Downer truck that was blowing towards the Mudgee Industrial Estate and across the Castlereagh Highway.

“When the EPA Officer investigated, he found a Downer truck being filled with fine hydrated lime without effective pollution controls.

“Although the use of hydrated lime is common practice for certain road projects this transfer was carried out in a way that caused air pollution.

“Hydrated lime poses a risk to human health. It can cause eye damage and skin irritation and potentially respiratory and gastro-intestinal problems.”

The EPA’s investigation found this incident occurred because of a lack of maintenance on the filters and poor operation of the equipment.

“It is important for industries working with any type of hazardous material to ensure that plant and equipment is properly maintained and operated. This incident could and should have been prevented,” said Mr Whyte.

Downer have since carried out repairs and maintenance on the vehicle. This has included a proper inspection of current filters and the fitting of new filters by the company.

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.

For more information about the EPA’s regulatory tools, see the EPA Compliance Policy at: http://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/legislation/prosguid.htm

Contact: Public Affairs

Page last updated: 07 July 2016