Laverton North company fined over contaminated water

A Laverton North company and its director have been fined $55,500 after discharging waste water contaminated with a corrosive industrial chemical into a drain.

The Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) prosecuted Chemprod Nominees Pty Ltd (trading as Omega Chemicals) and its director, Leslie Chaim Fried, over the discharge of waste water contaminated with sodium metabisulphite that flowed into Kayes Drain.

The company and Mr Fried pleaded guilty in the Sunshine Magistrate’s Court to causing an environmental hazard, permitting the deposit of industrial waste to an unlicensed site and pollution of waters.

The investigation began when Melbourne Water officers reported a white substance in Kayes Drain and EPA investigators traced the contaminated water back to the Chemprod premises on Fitzgerald Rd. The contaminated water flowed approximately two kilometres downstream.

Kayes Drain feeds into Laverton Creek, which runs alongside a number of private properties and public spaces flowing through the Altona Foreshore Reserve wetlands to Altona Bay.

The waste water came from the cleaning of a chemical tank, and should have been sent to the company’s onsite effluent treatment facility. Sodium metabisulphite is used as a disinfectant, antioxidant and preservative agent.

The Sunshine Magistrates’ Court fined the company $30,000 without conviction, ordered it to pay EPA costs of $13,000 and to publicise its offending in major and local newspapers.

Mr Fried was sentenced to an adjourned undertaking, without conviction, for 18 months and ordered to pay $12,500 to the court fund.

EPA Regional Manager for Western Metropolitan, Stephen Lansdell, said the Victorian community will not tolerate businesses committing offences like this.

“Kayes Drain is a concrete stormwater drain at Fitzgerald Road, which limited the damage done, but it flows into a residential area and wetlands on its way to Altona Bay,” Mr Lansdell said.

“Offences like this have environmental consequences and EPA is there to make sure they have legal consequences to match,” he said.

Source: Star Weekly

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