Greater Dandenong’s Officer for the Protection of the Local Environment (OPLE) is working with council to improve industry standards when storing liquid chemicals and waste.
In response to a report of discharge to stormwater, the OPLE inspected the premises of a family-owned chemical and cleaning product distributor in March 2019. A range of substandard practices were observed, including decanting chemicals near stormwater drains, and insufficient structures to contain chemical leaks and spills.
'The business blends, packages and distributes cleaning products, which can cause serious environmental damage if they enter waterways', the OPLE said.
'Some of these products contained isopropanol and triethanolamine lauryl sulphate, which are extremely harmful for animals, birds, fish and other aquatic life'.
Liquids were being stored in intermediate bulk containers (IBCs) and large drums. The site lacked secondary containment structures and spill kits to prevent and treat chemical leaks or spills. The business was also operating without an emergency management or spill management plan in place.
The OPLE served the business with a remedial notice requiring them to cease decanting chemical products near stormwater drains and install engineered containment structures to control leaks and spills.
The OPLE revoked the notice in June 2019 after a compliance inspection found that the business had removed all liquid chemicals from the premises and relocated to a new site.
“The duty holder decided that the premises was unsuitable to install the required risk controls and they moved to a different location”, the OPLE said.
'It’s essential that all businesses work in an environment with adequate controls to reduce harm from pollution and waste', the OPLE said.
Industry guidance on liquid storage and handling can be found on EPA’s website.