Greater Dandenong’s Officer for the Protection of the Local Environment (OPLE) is working with council to improve industry practices when storing liquid chemicals and waste.
In July 2019, a joint inspection of a chemical production business in Dandenong South uncovered a stockpile of 200,000 litres of liquid waste stored in intermediate bulk containers (IBCs). The company had experienced a disruption in their waste disposal supply chain and was storing the waste onsite while the issue was addressed.
'The company manufactures chemical products for surface treatment and coating in a range of industries, including electroplating, galvanizing and powder coating. This involves blending and batching a range of liquid chemicals, which requires comprehensive risk controls to avoid pollution', the OPLE said.
The OPLE determined that the site had insufficient containment structures to prevent chemical leaks or spills entering the stormwater system.
The OPLE advised the duty holder that they may be served with a remedial notice under the Environment Protection Act 1970. The duty holder undertook compliance actions voluntarily including safely removing the waste stockpile and improving their risk controls.
A follow-up inspection three weeks later confirmed that the business had disposed of the stockpile through appropriate channels and built new containment structures to mitigate the risk of chemical leaks and spills.
The duty holder supplied Waste Transfer Certificates to verify that the chemicals were safely removed, transported and disposed of by an authorised waste handler, which cost them around $80,000.
'It’s vitally important that businesses maintain high standards when dealing with chemicals and waste to mitigate the risks of damaging our environment', the OPLE said.
Industry guidance on liquid storage and handling can be found on EPA’s website.