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Friday, April 23, 2021

EPA fines Hexham metal recycler $15,000

Failing to minimise dust emissions at its Hexham plant has proved costly for Onesteel Recycling Pty Ltd (operating as Infrabuild), with the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) issuing a $15,000 fine.

EPA authorised officers, inspecting the Sparke Street facility in June 2020, observed actions being taken to reduce dust emissions were insufficient during scrap metal transfers from a conveyor onto a metal stockpile, and from a front loader to a truck.

The EPA then issued a $15,000 penalty notice to Infrabuild for the alleged contravention of their Environment Protection Licence.

Acting director regulatory operations David Gathercole said uncontrolled dust emissions could be harmful to human health and the environment.

“In addition to observations during the site inspection, the EPA also has CCTV evidence provided by a neighbouring property, allegedly showing dust emissions emanating from the Infrabuild facility,” he stated.

“Ongoing dust emissions have the potential to impact on the vegetation in the surrounding environment, particularly the Hunter Wetlands which are regionally significant.

“Uncontrolled dust emissions can potentially cause respiratory and cardiovascular health problems for the community, too.”

The EPA notes Infrabuild is proposing to install a fence along the property boundary to help control and prevent dust migration from the site.

Penalty notices are one of a number of tools the EPA can use to achieve environmental compliance including formal warnings, official cautions, licence conditions, notices and directions and prosecutions.

In this instance the EPA issued a penalty notice.

The notice recipient may pay the penalty notice, seek a review, or elect to have the matter determined by a court.

For further information about the EPA’s regulatory tools, see the EPA Compliance Policy at www.epa.nsw.gov.au/legislation/prosguid.htm

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