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Environment Protection Authority

Soilco fined $30,000 after waste water causes offensive odours in Kembla Grange

Media release: 7 September 2017

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has issued Soilco $30,000 in fines after waste water containing leachate discharged from their waste facility in Kembla Grange, causing odours in and around the local area.

The Reddalls Road facility holds an environment protection licence to receive food waste, garden waste and wood waste for processing and composting

Between February and April this year, the Illawarra region experienced sustained and heavy rainfall, including over the Soilco site. During this same period, the EPA received more than 50 complaints about odours in and around the Kembla Grange area. To address the odours, EPA officers undertook day and night-time odour surveys to find the cause of the odour.

During an odour survey in the neighbouring suburb of Farmborough Heights on 28 March, an EPA officer identified a strong and pungent odour in local streets, and confirmed the odours were strongest at the Soilco site. Closer inspection showed the odours were originating from onsite drains, where green leachate was found.

The EPA investigation found that the leachate treatment tanks were overflowing and a broken PVC pipe was misdirecting the leachate off-site, compounded by the heavy rainfall the region was experiencing.  As a result of the equipment not working properly, the leachate was not being adequately treated or contained, with some of the odorous green liquid spilling into neighbouring properties and drains. 

The EPA issued a Clean Up Notice to ensure action was taken to stop the discharge of leachate from the site and clean up the affected areas. Soilco complied with the notice. 

Soilco was issued with two  fines of $15,000 each. The first was issued for not competently storing and disposing of the waste water, including leachate. The second $15,000 fine was issued for the water pollution that resulted from leachate unlawfully discharging from the site.EPA Acting Regional Manager Waste Compliance Steven James said heavy rain was no excuse for a facility not to follow the conditions of their licence and ensure materials such as waste water are dealt with appropriately. 

“Leachate has the potential to cause offensive odours and so environment protection licences have strict conditions in place to control stormwater, waste water and leachate to ensure these odours don’t adversely impact the  community,” Mr James said.

“In this instance, Soilco did not competently carry out licensed activities during this period, and the community suffered as a result.”

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


Contact: EPA public affairs

Page last updated: 07 September 2017