A community pollution report to Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) has led to a Laverton North company and its director being fined $7,500 and ordered to pay more than $17,000 in court costs for storing hundreds of drums of industrial waste at an unlicensed site.
Fordex Pty Ltd (operating under Tradepaints) and its sole director, Andrew Duxson pleaded guilty in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court yesterday to one charge each under the Environment Protection Act to storing prescribed industrial waste (PIW) without an EPA licence.
The court heard EPA received the community pollution report in June 2013 alleging hundreds of drums and bulk containers containing waste were being stored at the company’s paint and glue manufacturing site on Fitzgerald Road.
Inspections by EPA officers found 50 bulk containers and 400 drums of PIW that was not generated at the premises stored on site.
The drums and containers were rusting and collapsing, bulging, leaking waste onto the concrete floor and were in an advanced state of decay, the court heard.
Samples taken confirmed the waste was Category A – Prescribed Industrial Waste (PIW), and included nylon, grease/oil, acrylic emulsions and paint pigments.
Category A PIW requires the highest level of management due to its potential to be hazardous to human health and the environment.
EPA’s investigation found the waste had been accumulating at the premises since the early 1990s until around 2001-2002 when they stopped accepting waste.
Under the Environment Protection Act 1970, it is an offence to store PIW from other industries without an EPA licence or approval.
EPA issued the company with clean-up notices requiring all industrial waste be removed from the site. The company complied with these notices and EPA revoked its last notice on 1 June 2015 after it was satisfied that all requirements had been met.
The company incurred clean-up costs in excess of $200,000.
Magistrate Harding fined Fordex Pty Ltd, without conviction, $5000 and Mr Duxson $2500 and ordered them to pay $17,717 in court costs.
EPA Metro Manager, Dan Hunt said licences were there to help protect the environment and the community.
“This behaviour is simply not good enough and EPA will hold companies to account for incorrectly storing industrial waste,” he said.
“Prescribed industrial waste contains some of the most hazardous waste in our community and must be dealt with safely and responsibly.”
“If a site is not managed properly, hazardous waste has the potential to impact the environment by entering local stormwater systems.”
EPA thanks the community for their proactive involvement in this matter and encourages anyone who witnesses pollution to report it to EPA’s Pollution Hotline on 1300 372 842 (1300 EPA VIC).
PHOTO: Hundreds of drums of industrial waste stored at an unlicensed site in Laverton.