Orica Pleads Guilty to Unauthorised Discharges from Yarwun Plant
$30m upgrade program underway to improve stormwater management
Orica Australia Pty Limited today pleaded guilty to four counts of breaching the Queensland Environmental Protection Act 1994 as a result of unauthorised stormwater and effluent releases from its Yarwun facility near Gladstone, Queensland, between February 2010 and February 2012.
There was no evidence of any environmental damage as a result of the discharges. No conviction has been recorded.
The Court has ordered the Company to pay a fine of $432,000.
In response to the incidents, Orica consented to a Court order for the undertaking of a comprehensive independent audit of the Yarwun site and has committed $30 million of investment to upgrade the facility.
This includes eight specific initiatives to improve stormwater management and environmental compliance at the site with the majority of works to be completed in November 2012.
This program includes:
-upgrades to stormwater retention systems;
-installation of perimeter berms, bunds and drains to improve stormwater management; and
-improved surface management and sealing.
$250,000 of the fine to be paid by Orica will be directed to three community-based environment groups.
By agreement between the parties the Court has determined that $100,000 of the total fine will be allocated to green turtle research at Port Curtis, $90,000 for Australian Conservation Volunteers and $60,000 for the Gladstone Healthy Harbour Partnership to assist with the groups ongoing environmental works.
This is the first time that a public benefit order has been awarded in Queensland since the Environmental Protection Act was amended to allow a proportion of a penalty to be directed towards environmental works.
The Company has co-operated fully with the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection.
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