A latex spill that polluted Darebin Creek will cost flooring company Tuftmaster Carpets nearly $35,000 following an Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) prosecution at the Heidelberg Magistrates Court on Wednesday, 21 June.
Tuftmaster Carpets was found guilty of polluting Darebin Creek with Magistrate Wakeling ordering the company to contribute $25,000 toward Darebin Creek Management Committee (DCMC) projects, publish a notice publicising the Court’s verdict and pay EPA costs of $9,355.
Magistrate Wakeling heard that in 2014 Tuftmaster had allowed a spill of latex into a drain leading to Darebin Creek which was harmful or potentially harmful to plants or other vegetation, an offence under the Environment Protection Act 1970.
In August 2014, EPA Investigators were alerted to possible pollution of Darebin Creek. They inspected a drain outlet at the Creek where it crosses Darebin Road at Ivanhoe and found the waters turbid, white blue tinged and with a PVA glue-like odour.
Tracing the flow back along the drain system and with the help of Melbourne Water to gain access to water inspection pits, the Investigators established the leak was coming from Tuftmaster’s Cope Street, Preston factory. The factory processes latex for carpet backing. The Investigators took samples of latex in a liquid form collecting in a bucket before overflowing into a covered drain.
"Tuftmaster are responsible for ensuring that any chemicals or substances involved in the manufacturing process are properly managed," said EPA Manager Metro Dan Hunt.
"All businesses must manage the pollution they create and, intentional or not, Tuftmaster failed to do so. The penalty of the community contribution, payment of EPA costs and the public notice, reflect the seriousness of the offence," he said.
Magistrate Wakeling ordered the payment must be used for the following project:
Keep it Clean – Darebin Creek Preston
DCMC is aiming to improve the Preston area of the Darebin Creek by conducting the following activities;
* DCMC will deliver the Darebin Creek Education Program in the Preston area including schools and community events such as the Darebin Creek Festival at Northland Shopping Centre to continue awareness raising and community involvement in beautifying and protecting the Darebin Creek.
* DCMC will support and work in collaboration with local community groups working in the area including Darebin Creek Sweepers and Friends of Darebin Creek in beautifying and improving ecological values of the Darebin Creek.
* DCMC will conduct drain labelling including a large interpretive sign and flyer to encourage pollution reporting in the area and interpretive signage at Southern Road Wetland in collaboration with the above community groups as water pollution is a key issue in the area.
Tuftmaster has 30 days to provide evidence of the payments and 60 days to publish the notice in a local newspaper.