Healthy Environment, Healthy Community, Healthy Business

Environment Protection Authority

Noakes Boat and Shipyards fined for toxic leak into Sydney Harbour

Media release: 5 October 2016

The NSW Environment Protection Authority has fined Noakes Boat and Shipyards $15,000 for water pollution after toxic substances leaked from a broken drain at their premises into Sydney Harbour.

EPA officers inspected the boatyard after a local resident called to report an unnatural sheen on the water in front of the Noakes slipway.

The officers witnessed Noakes employees’ pressuring-washing anti-foul off the bottom of a boat. On removing the cover of a catchment drain a crack was identified as the cause of the harbour pollution.

EPA Regional Director for the Metropolitan area Giselle Howard said while only a small amount of waste liquid had reached the harbour on this occasion, the cracked drain could have continued to discharge this dangerous chemical, had the EPA not been alerted.

“Anti-foul is toxic to marine life and has the potential to cause long-term damage to the wider aquatic environment,” Ms Howard said.

“Had the drain been left unrepaired, it could have caused significant harm to aquatic life in the harbour around McMahons Point.

“Noakes have now repaired the crack and tested it with safe coloured dye to ensure no toxic waste water from their shipyard operations is reaching the harbour.

“This was a serious incident that could have been worse but the community’s calls to the EPA Environment Line enabled us to react swiftly and effectively.”

Members of the community can call the Environment Line 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 131 555.

Penalty Notices are one of a number of tools the EPA can use to achieve environmental compliance including formal warnings, official cautions, licence conditions, notices and directions and prosecutions.

The EPA takes a range of factors into account before delivering a 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 

Contact: EPA Public Affairs

Page last updated: 05 October 2016