Healthy Environment, Healthy Community, Healthy Business

Environment Protection Authority

Toxic chemical discharge costs Company Director $270,000

Media release: 5 June 2017

The Land and Environment Court has convicted the Director of Sydney Drum Machinery Pty Ltd (trading as Better Drums), Mr Imad Osman-Kerim and penalised him a total of $151,000 after he failed to comply with two notices issued by the NSW Environment Protection Authority to clean-up toxic chemicals after fires at his St Mary’s drum re-conditioning business.

Mr Osman-Kerim was also convicted of breaching a condition of the company’s Environment Protection Licence when they received drums onto the premises while the licence was suspended. 

In addition to the fine, the court ordered Mr Osman-Kerim to publish details of the offence in several publications, pay the EPA’s investigation costs of $120,795 and pay the EPA’s legal costs.

EPA Director Waste Compliance Greg Sheehy said the EPA prosecuted Mr Osman-Kerim in his capacity as the sole director of Sydney Drum Machinery, for two offences of failing to comply with a clean-up notice and one offence of contravening a condition of an environment protection licence in breach of the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997.

“Sydney Drum Machinery provided a cleaning and repair business for drums used as chemical containers and had a responsibility to ensure that waste water from the site was contained at all times so as not to impact on the surrounding environment,” Mr Sheehy said.

The EPA suspended the company’s licence in October 2011, after an EPA Officer inspected the premises and found that drum containers were being stored at the site above the capacity permitted by its licence and these were stored in an unsatisfactory way, putting the environment at risk.

“A condition of the suspension prevented the company from receiving chemical drums at the premises, however, the company continued to receive chemical drums at the premises unlawfully.”

In January 2012, two separate fires damaged the premises causing toxic chemicals entrained in firewater to discharge from the premises into a creek that runs through Dunheved Golf Course.

Sydney Drum Machinery failed to comply with clean-up notices issued by the EPA after each fire requiring the company to take measures to ensure the firewater, which was contaminated with toxic chemicals from the sites operations, was contained onsite and removed to a licenced waste disposal facility.

“The lack of immediate actions by the company to contain the waste water resulted in discharges from the premises causing serious actual harm to the creek environment, including fish, frogs and invertebrates.

“The EPA had to step in and stop the discharges to the environment on both occasions to prevent further harm to the environment,” Mr Sheehy said.

The company has de-registered and is no longer operating.

Contact: Public Affairs

Page last updated: 05 June 2017