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Another pollution sentence for chemical company

Another pollution sentence for chemical company

23 July 2003

The Environment Court this week issued a third significant sentence in the space of a year against a chemical manufacture and hazardous and liquid waste treatment company Nuplex Industries.

The sentence was awarded after a prosecution carried out by the Auckland Regional Council under the Resource Management Act (RMA).

The East Tamaki company United Environmental which trades as Nuplex Environmental is a wholly owned subsidiary of Nuplex Industries. It pleaded guilty to two charges of discharging odour to air that caused nausea and headaches for staff of a neighbouring company.

ARC officers investigated the incident after receiving complaints from a neighbour on 15 October 2002. The investigation revealed that the odour was discharged from the plant as a result of waste treatment processes being carried out in an open air pond.

United Environmental was fined $29,000, plus costs of approximately $1,200. The company was also ordered to include details of the prosecution in its next annual report and to write a notice to all company employees informing them of the conviction.

Earlier this year United Environmental was fined $38,000 plus approximately $2,000 in costs in relation to discharges of chlorine fumes, also from an open air treatment pond.

Nuplex Industries was fined $55,000 plus approximately $11,000 costs in another case early this year, involving illegal discharges to air from its Penrose resins and emulsions plant. The latest prosecution against United Environmental is the fifth involving Nuplex Industries since 1998.

“We are happy with the Environment Court’s decision,” said ARC Compliance Enforcement Leader, Michael LeRoy-Dyson.

“We always aim to work with companies to make them aware of their environmental responsibilities. We do not take enforcement action lightly and prosecution is usually our last resort,” said Mr LeRoy-Dyson.

“We want these treatment industries to be successful as they perform an important role in the region. However, they must meet environmental standards in doing so. We are optimistic that United Environmental has turned a corner and we now hope to place our energies on working constructively with the company to bring the site up to best industry practice.” said Mr LeRoy-Dyson.

The company has recently proposed a number of major developments on the site including replacing the open treatment ponds. The upgrades are expected to be implemented progressively as part of the company’s air discharge resource consent application.


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