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Environment Protection Authority

EPA fines EarthPower Technologies Sydney Pty Ltd $23,000

Media release: 31 August 2016

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has fined EarthPower Technologies Sydney Pty Ltd (EarthPower) $15,000 for unlawful transportation of waste, and $8,000 for providing false information about the disposal of waste, at its food and grease trap waste processing facility in Camellia.

In early 2015, the NSW EPA began a compliance review of EarthPower’s Resource Recovery Exemption (Exemption) for organic prills. The Exemption allows EarthPower to produce organic prills, a dry pelletised soil amendment for use as a fertiliser substitute, out of wastes processed at the plant.

On 25 November 2015 the EPA directed EarthPower to provide information and records relating to the production and distribution of the organic prills. After reviewing the data, the EPA became concerned about a number of apparent breaches of EarthPower’s Exemption.

Further investigation by the EPA found that EarthPower had provided false information about its Exemption compliance and waste disposal. Testing data had been provided for material other than organic prills, and incorrect information about the disposal of waste was also provided to the EPA. The investigation also uncovered the company’s unlawful transport and supply of approximately 13,700 tonnes of dewatered digestate waste to agricultural properties at Maroota, which were not licensed to receive waste.

NSW EPA Unit Head of Resource Recovery, Dr Helen Prifti, said that following these incidents, EarthPower has been observed to be in breach of both sections 143 and 144AA of the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 (‘the Act”).

“The dewatered digestate has been land applied like a fertiliser and EarthPower is now required to conduct further soil testing at the Maroota property to demonstrate that there are no long term harmful impacts. The actual level of overall harm from this is expected to be low,” Dr Prifti said.

“The EPA has informed EarthPower that it must comply with its Exemption conditions at all times and that there are significant fines and criminal penalties attached for any breaches.

“EarthPower has since implemented measures to ensure that it meets its environmental and legal obligations. The EPA appreciates this responsiveness, and will continue to monitor EarthPower, to ensure its continued compliance with environmental regulation.” 

Penalty notices are just one of a number of tools the EPA can use to achieve compliance with the Act, others include investigation, prevention and clean up notices; official cautions; 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 www.epa.nsw.gov.au/legislation/prosguid.htm.

Contact: EPA Public Affairs

Page last updated: 31 August 2016