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BlueScope fined for discharging water pollution

06 February, 2015

Multinational steel producer BlueScope Steel has copped a fine from the EPA and been ordered to take two pollution reduction programs after it was found to be breaching conditions of its Environment Protection Licence (EPL).

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) issued a penalty notice of $1500 to the company for an incident at Port Kembla Steel Works. 

EPA's Manager of Illawarra region, Peter Bloem said on 1 July 2014 coke ovens gas condensate, containing cyanide at levels that breached BlueScope's Environment Protection Licence limit, discharged into a drain, killing fish.

"BlueScope reported the incident immediately and investigations showed that the discharge was caused by a blockage in a condensate collection system, resulting in 3000-5000 litres of condensate entering into the drain," Bloem said.

"As part of this enforcement action BlueScope is required to undertake two legally binding Pollution Reduction Programs for works costing in excess of $400,000.

"The company is required to reconfigure the condensate collection system to make sure the incident doesn't happen again and investigate improvements to surface water management onsite.

"The incident appears isolated but it has had demonstrated environmental impacts and our response takes into account BlueScope's cooperation with the investigation and corrective actions that tighten environmental controls and reduce the risk of a similar incident happening again."

Corrective actions

A spokesman from BlueScope told reporters the company "regretted" the incident, and had immediately acted to correct it.

"A number of corrective actions have since been put in place to prevent a similar occurrence," he said.

"This includes modifications to the system to ensure any future overflows will be contained, as well as an engineering study to redesign the drainage network in that area."

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