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Environment Protection Authority

EPA fines Kemps Creek waste facility $15,000 for stormwater discharge

Media release: 2 August 2017

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has fined Suez Recycling and Recovery $15,000 after testing showed the Kemps Creek waste facility discharged polluted water into the stormwater system.

The waste facility, located at Elizabeth Drive Kemps Creek, holds an environment protection licence and is allowed to discharge water into the stormwater system provided it meets the safe limits defined in the licence.

Between June and September 2016, there were six occasions when the discharge breached the allowed levels of ammonia and four occasions when it exceeded total suspended solids limits.

An EPA investigation into the incidents found the licensee did not have the appropriate controls in place to contain contaminated stormwater on site, particularly in the case of significant rainfall. The 2016 Landfill Guidelines advise that water levels in any landfill stormwater dam should be drawn down within five days of the end of any significant rainfall to ensure capacity to contain runoff regardless of the weather.

Suez were fined $15,000 for the discharge of polluted water and were also issued an official caution for not operating in a competent manner by failing to follow the 2016 Landfill Guidelines.

EPA Director Waste Compliance Greg Sheehy said while Suez was working to rectify the issues - including the installation of temporary aerators to reduce ammonia in the dam and increasing the size of the dam itself - the fact the incident had put the environment at risk was reason enough for the EPA to issue a fine.

“This isn’t an insignificant penalty – it’s designed to ensure that Suez take the required steps to prevent this from happening again,” Mr Sheehy said.

“Weather isn’t an excuse – the guidelines are there to ensure facilities take rain into account when it comes to managing contaminated stormwater.”

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. For more information about the EPA’s regulatory tools, see the EPA Compliance Policy at http://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/legislation/prosguid.htm

Contact: Public Affairs

Page last updated: 02 August 2017