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Environment Protection Authority

Fire at waste facility costs Wingecarribee Shire Council $8000

Media release: 16 January 2017

Wingecarribee Shire Council has been fined $8000 for failing to notify the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) when green-waste at their resource recovery facility caught fire in July last year.

EPA Manager Regional Waste Compliance Cate Woods said residents in and around Moss Vale might remember the fire in July 2016, which started in the early hours of the morning and closed the resource recovery facility for several days.

“We became aware of this fire when a member of the public, rather than the Council, reported the incident to Fire and Rescue, who then reported it to the EPA later in the day, allowing our officers to attend the scene and provide advice,” Ms Woods said.

“Any fire has the potential to impact the environment and the EPA has a crucial role in working with local fire services on the scene of incidents like this with the potential to cause pollution.

“The fire water runoff water also needs to be managed to minimise any offsite impacts to both the environment and human health.

“While there was potential for environmental harm in this instance, it’s good to see this didn’t occur. However, this instance is a good illustration of why the notification requirements to the EPA, under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997, exist.”

Council was also issued with an Official Caution for not implementing their Pollution Incident Response Management Plan during the fire.

Council has now taken steps to address the causes that lead to the failure to notify authorities and the failure to activate the Pollution Incident Response Management Plan.

Penalty notices are 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.






Contact: EPA media

Page last updated: 16 January 2017