Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) has fined the Laverton North operation of J.J. Richards & Sons Pty Ltd twice and issued two warnings for contravening its licence conditions and allowing oil to enter an onsite stormwater pit.
JJ Richards & Sons has an EPA licence to accept and treat prescribed industrial waste (PIW) such as waste oils, hydrocarbons and washwaters contaminated with hydrocarbons and oils. In addition to the liquid waste they are also licensed to hold a certain quantity of solid waste.
EPA officers, conducting a licence compliance inspection in April, found JJ Richards were holding an exceedance of solid PIW and had failed to notify EPA of the situation, which it must do as a part of its licence conditions.
“While JJ Richards was able to explain how the exceedance had occurred, and have since improved their management practices so is now compliant, it should not have happened in the first place,” explained EPA Regional Manager Dan Hunt, EPA Metropolitan Region.
“To have then not notified EPA about the exceedance is also a contravention of the licence and they should know that. Under the circumstances the fines, which total more than $16,000 are appropriate.
“We also issued two warnings for failing to label waste containers and allowing a stormwater pit to be contaminated with hydrocarbons. The contamination appears to have been contained to the pit
, and has since been cleaned up. Containers need to be properly labeled for management and safety reasons.
“JJ Richards has committed to addressing these issues and EPA will follow up with ongoing inspections and monitoring.”
Mr Hunt said that EPA was proactive in stopping harm from pollution and waste and that under new laws effective from July next year, all Victorian businesses must be aware of a new General Environmental Duty or face enforcement action under new laws from EPA.
“The Duty will put the onus onto businesses and require people who conduct activities that pose a risk to human health and the environment from pollution and waste to take reasonable steps to eliminate or reduce those risks.”
Learn more about Victoria’s new environment laws at epa.vic.gov.au/newlaws
Under the Environment Protection Act 1970 and the Infringements Act 2008, JJ Richards & Sons has the right to have the fine reviewed or have the matter determined by a court.