Sump pump failure leads to penalty

An Australian chemical company has been fined by the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) after a sump pump failed causing wastewater to enter the Hunter River (NSW).

The EPA issued two penalty notices and fined Incitec Pivot $30,000 for breaching its Environment Protection Licence (EPL).

EPA Director North, Gary Davey, said Incitec was fined for water pollution after a sump pump failed.

“The Port Authority of NSW notified the EPA of a white-coloured discharge to the South Arm of the Hunter River,” Mr Davey said.

“The EPA investigated the complaint and determined that the discharge was caused by a series of overflows of wastewater in Incitec’s wheel wash, after a sump pump tripped during an electrical storm.

“The EPA believes the incident may have been avoided if the wheel wash had been fitted with standby pumps and an alarm to alert operators to any potential discharge.”

Analysis of the wastewater revealed high nutrient concentrations. This can affect water quality and aquatic life.

The second penalty notice was issued for tracking fertiliser products along Heron Road.

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