Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) has fined chemical container manufacturer and reconditioner Schutz Australia Pty Ltd $7,929 for installing and commissioning new equipment without first applying for an EPA Works Approval.
The Laverton North company reconditions and makes 1,000 litre chemical containers and washes used drums, and last year constructed a shed to house a new distillation unit which would boost productivity and improve the efficiency of their wastewater treatment system.
As Schutz is a ‘scheduled’ premises operating under a licence, they should have informed EPA and sought a Works Approval.
EPA became aware of the change earlier this year when the company, through an environmental consultant acting for Schutz, mentioned the distillation unit in an application for a Works Approval to accept full containers of washwater from interstate. EPA Metro Region officers inspected the site and confirmed the new unit and the fact it was operating without the appropriate authorisations.
“EPA expects all organisations, especially those operating under a licence, to be fully aware of their obligations under the Environment
al Protection Act,” said EPA Metro Region Manager Steve Pugh.
“In the case of Schutz, they may have introduced an improved system, but it was a change to a treatment process at a scheduled premises, therefore they should have kept EPA informed and only proceeded when the necessary approvals were granted.”
“It is critical that EPA and other parties understand equipment during the proposal stage prior to installation so that informed decisions can be made about the potential environmental impacts and changes to types of waste generated.”
Under the Environment Protection Act 1970 and the Infringements Act 2008, Schutz Australia Pty Ltd has the right to have the decision to issue the infringement notice reviewed or alternatively to have the matter heard and determined by a court.