The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has fined No Fuss Waste Solutions Pty Ltd $15,000 for water pollution at an unlicensed Emu Plains facility.
In February this year, the EPA and Penrith City Council officers inspected the unlicensed facility and observed that two toilets next to the processing area were stained with a dark brown liquid.
Samples taken from the site showed high levels of caffeine and traces of cholesterol, indicating that the toilet facilities were being used to deposit liquid food waste into sewer pipes.
Correspondence received from No Fuss in response to the EPA investigation stated that on January 28, 2016 mixed liquid food waste was bucketed into the toilets after machinery had broken down with waste in it.
No Fuss said that the liquid was discharged into the toilets to gain access to the machinery.
No approvals have been issued by Sydney Water Corporation for the discharge of waste to the sewer at the facility.
NSW EPA Senior Manager Waste Compliance, Chris McElwain, said that regardless of the motivation for the discharge of liquid waste to the sewer, the action is a breach of the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997.
“Section 120 (1) of the Act clearly states that it is unlawful to discharge wastes to the sewer system without approval from the appropriate authority, in this instance being the Sydney Water Corporation,” Mr McElwain said.
“It is important for liquid waste to be disposed of appropriately, in order to prevent expensive sewer blockages that can damage Sydney Water Corporation’s infrastructure, and to avoid any environmental contamination.
“The EPA encourages all businesses that generate liquid food waste to make sure they are sending their waste to facilities that have all the necessary approvals and licences.”
Penalty notices are just one of a number of tools the EPA can use to achieve environmental compliance, including formal warnings, licence conditions, notices and directions, mandatory audits, enforceable undertakings, legally binding pollution reduction programs and prosecutions.