Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) has fined United Terminals Pty Ltd nearly $16,000 for two breaches of the Environment Protection Act over a diesel spill incident at its Barclay Crescent, Hastings site that flowed into nearby Oliver’s Creek.
EPA was notified by United Terminals of a fuel spill of up to 1,000 litres at the site on the afternoon of Monday 31 July this year, but that the leak, from a damaged pipeline flange, had been stopped.
EPA officers attended and found that a significant volume of lost fuel was captured by interceptor drains and a trap onsite, but a small unknown volume was lost in to the Creek. EPA officers observed a clean-up process had taken place, which originally was aimed at protecting the nearby mangroves with booms and surface water removal.
Significant work was undertaken to protect the adjacent mangroves, which appear to have been largely unaffected. Despite a strong smell of fuel in the area, there were no human health impacts.
Several agencies attended with EPA including Department of Environment Land Water and Planning, CFA, and VicPol.
“The United Terminals site in Hastings is an EPA licensed premises and is of key interest as it is close to the Western Port Bay wetland environment which is recognised internationally as a RAMSAR wetland due to its ecological value,” said Troy Kraska, Manager EPA Southern Metro.
“In this instance, it is disappointing that the operator failed to manage its onsite infrastructure effectively, which resulted in a spill that could have been avoided,” he said.
“To ensure the operator meets its compliance obligations, the EPA will continue to monitor the site as part of its licence compliance program, working with the operator to minimise any potential environmental risks and impact to the community.
"Where appropriate the EPA will provide compliance advice and will take the necessary action for any non-compliance matters in line with EPA’s Compliance & Enforcement Policy.”
EPA issued two fines; one for causing an environmental hazard and another for a breach of a licence condition. Each offence carries a $7,929 fine.
Under the Environment Protection Act 1970 and the Infringements Act 2008, United Terminals 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.
Members of the public can report pollution of the environment to the 24-hour EPA pollution hotline, by calling 1300 372 842 (1300 EPA VIC). There’s more information at www.epa.vic.gov.au/get-involved/report-pollution