Healthy Environment, Healthy Community, Healthy Business

Environment Protection Authority

Cement company to pay more than $105,000 for Port Kembla dust cloud

Media release: 4 November 2016

Port Kembla cement manufacturer, Morgan Cement International Pty Ltd has been convicted and fined $50,250 and ordered to pay the NSW Environment Protection Authority’s (EPA) legal and investigation costs totalling $55,492 after pleading guilty in the Land and Environment Court.

The company pleaded guilty to breaching its environment protection licence and failing to maintain certain plant and equipment properly.

Dust blew onto local streets, cars and homes up to 1.5 kilometres away after a silo roof ruptured following several equipment failures at the plant on March 14, 2015.

EPA Director Metropolitan Branch Giselle Howard welcomed the court’s ruling.

“This outcome is a strong warning to industry of the regulatory action and costs they could face when they fail to do appropriate maintenance and monitoring.

“This was a particularly unpleasant experience for the plant’s neighbours with a number of local residents contacting the EPA at the time to complain about the white dust covering their cars, out-door furniture and homes,” Ms Howard said.

“If equipment fails then it is important staff understand incident response procedures and take action to minimise impacts on the environment and local communities.”

“It is a reminder to all companies of the importance of carrying out regular system checks and monitoring to ensure that any equipment failures are identified and fixed quickly to prevent environmental incidents like this.”                      

All industry operators, including manufacturers like Morgan Cement, have a responsibility to comply with environmental laws and ensure they are actively working to reduce impacts and improve their environmental performance.

Since the incident, the company has taken a number of steps to improve its operations including: installing new monitors, upgrading equipment and revising and improving maintenance procedures.

The community can play an important role in helping the EPA to monitor industry compliance.  Anyone who has a concern about environmental impacts like odour, or knowledge of a particular incident is encouraged to contact the EPA’s 24-hour Environment Line on 131 555 to make a report so it can be investigated.

Contact: EPA Public Affairs

Page last updated: 04 November 2016