Orica fined for pollution incidents

EXPLOSIVES and chemicals maker Orica has received New South Wales Land and Environment Court’s highest-ever fine – $768,250 – over seven pollution incidents across its Kooragang Island and Botany plants from October 2010 to December 2011.

Blair Price

This bill included a $211,750 fine for the most controversial incident in August 2011, where hexavalent chromium was released by the Kooragang plant through steam which impacted residents of the nearby Newcastle suburb of Stockton.

Orica will also have to pay the state’s Environmental Protection Agency $65,000 for investigation and legal costs.

“It sends a clear message that the EPA will pursue companies that breach their environmental obligation and bring them to account in the court,” EPA chair Barry Buffier said of the outcome.

“Local communities deserve better from their industrial neighbours and the outcome of this comprehensive process ensures this will be delivered.”

EPA will use the court winnings to fund six of its Hunter Valley-based environmental projects plus a Botany Bay Council-run Bush Regeneration project for the Sir Joseph Banks Reserve.