Media releases

EPA makes Amcor accountable for Yarra spill

16 Jul 2012

EPA Victoria has served a Notice on Amcor Packaging Pty Ltd after a discharge
of industrial waste to the Yarra River likely to be from its Alphington paper
manufacturing plant on June 13, 2012.

EPA responded to community reports of oil entering the Yarra River from a
stormwater drain near Alphington and observed an oily sheen from a stormwater
drain downstream of the Amcor site.

During a site visit EPA found the company had tried to absorb an oily water
leak from a bund in the Turbine Room, using absorbent padding. Drainage maps
showed that the main stormwater drainage lines runs through the Amcor site,
including the Turbine room, and connects to the Yarra River.

Sampling later confirmed that the waste contained oil, and the risks to the
environment were highly visible and preventable.

Under Notice conditions Amcor must install waste controls to prevent spills to
stormwater system by August 3, and through monitoring requirements investigate
the cause of the spill by August 10 2012.

EPA Acting CEO Matt Vincent said major industrial sites, especially those close
to rivers and streams, were expected to manage their waste and understand how
sites under their control could pose significant environmental risk and impact
local communities.

“EPA has made it clear to Amcor that they will be held to account for the
ongoing pollution and environmental issues surrounding their Alphington plant,”
Mr Vincent said.

Amcor publicly committed to closing their Alphington facility upon the
successful commissioning of its new plant at Botany, which is intended to occur
no later than September 2012.

Mr Vincent said that after December 2012, Amcor’s Alphington site will not be
licenced by EPA.

“We are determined that in these closing stages of the company’s operations on
that site, they remain vigilant in addressing and managing their risk to the
environment,” Mr Vincent said.

The Environment Protection Act provides for fines up to $300,000 for
contravening a Pollution Abatement Notice. In the case of a continuing offence,
a company may be ordered to pay up to $150,000 for each day on which the
offence continues.

Page last updated on 16 Jul 2012