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EPA has fined paint and coatings manufacturer Akzo Nobel $8,261 for breaching a remedial notice to keep noise from its plant at Sunshine North within limits for the area.
The company received an EPA Pollution Abatement Notice (PAN) in December 2020, requiring it to modify or install controls on its activities and processes by 26 February this year to reduce noise, but the company failed to comply.

EPA Western Metropolitan Regional Manager Stephen Lansdell says sound monitoring equipment installed three days after the deadline showed people in nearby homes were still being exposed to too much noise.

“The official notice from EPA specified noise limits of 58 decibels during the day, 51 dB during the evening, and 47 dB at night,” Mr Lansdell said.

“We installed EPA monitoring equipment at a home in Barwon Ave, Sunshine North, on 1 March and left it there for just over a week,” he said.

“Data showed noise from the plant in McIntyre Rd was consistently exceeding the limits.”

The noise levels detected were up to 15 dBA over the limit during the evening and between 3 and 11 dBA over the limit during the day.

“The company is still required to comply with the PAN, and EPA continues to actively regulate the site and work with the local community,” Mr Lansdell said.

The new Environment Protection Act ,that took effect on 1 July this year, introduced the General Environmental Duty, a responsibility for anyone whose activities may involve pollution to take reasonable steps to eliminate risk to human health and the environment.  

Under the Environment Protection Act 1970 and the Infringements Act 2006, the operator has the right to have the infringement notice reviewed or be considered by a court.

“I’d like to say thank you to our local community. This investigation, the PAN and the fine all started with routine inspections by EPA officers together with local intelligence and pollution reports from residents. We encourage members of the public to report pollution whenever they experience it,” Mr Lansdell said.

“The clear message to all businesses is that if you fail to comply with EPA requirements to protect the community and the environment, you will be held accountable,” he said.

The company is also currently subject to EPA notices requiring measures to reduce odour from the site.

Members of the public can report pollution by calling EPA’s 24-hour hotline on 1300 EPA VIC (1300 372 842).

Reviewed 9 August 2021