News and updates

Shampoo foam in Blackburn Lake sees beauty product manufacturer fined

14 Mar 2019

Blackburn Lake shampoo foam

A Nunawading beauty product manufacturer has been fined $8,060 for causing piles of shampoo foam to spread across part of Blackburn Lake.

Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) officers quickly attended the scene at Blackburn Lake, acting on reports from concerned members of the public. 

EPA officers traced the foam to its source at a nearby factory where the concentration of foam-producing surfactants was highest.

EPA officers determined that a 100-litre drum of shampoo at the factory operated by STN International Pty Ltd was spilled into the stormwater drain on 18 January 2019. The spill fed into Blackburn Lake, causing a build-up of shampoo foam.

EPA Metro Region Manager Dan Hunt said that “the foam pile at Blackburn Lake troubled community members and had the potential to harm aquatic life in the lake.”

“High levels of these surfactants can cause environmental damage to the freshwater environment.

“They can deprive fish and aquatic life of oxygen in the water and interfere with their metabolic processes” Mr. Hunt said.

EPA officers directed the company to engage a waste contractor to remove shampoo from the stormwater drain and Blackburn Lake. A waste contractor was engaged immediately and undertook clean up works.

The company has subsequently put controls in place to prevent and clean up any potential spills.

STN International Pty Ltd was fined for spilling the shampoo into the stormwater drain.

“Our EPA officers were at Blackburn Lake shortly after receiving reports from members of the public.” Mr. Hunt said.

“Thanks to these reports from the public, EPA officers were able to track down the source, hold the company to account and see their practices improved.

“It’s important for EPA to hear about incidents like this as quickly as possible, as this gives us the best chance of uncovering the source of a spill.

“Community members across Victoria are our best eyes and ears. If you think you’ve seen a pollution event, get in touch by calling 1300 EPA VIC.” Mr. Hunt said.

Under the Environment Protection Act 1970 and the Infringements Act 2008, the company 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.

Page last updated on 14 Mar 2019