Caltex responds to NSW EPA proceedings, faces $2 million fine

Caltex Australia acknowledged last week the EPA proceedings regarding the 2013 incident at its Banksmeadow terminal and said that it undertook an extensive investigation following a leak from a petrol tank at its Banksmeadow (NSW) terminal in July 2013 into secondary containment.

Caltex Australia said that although there was no harm to the environment, Caltex is disappointed that the incident occurred given its long-standing commitment to maintaining the highest standards in environmental, personal and process safety.

“Caltex is committed to maintaining safe and reliable operations and we are focused on continuous improvement to reduce environmental, personal and process safety risk,” the company said.

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) commenced a prosecution in the Land and Environment Court against Caltex Australia Petroleum for a Tier 1 offence, in relation to the alleged incident involving the uncontrolled discharge of about 157,000 litres of unleaded petrol at the Caltex Banksmeadow Terminal.

“Tier 1 offences under the Protection of Environment Operations Act 1997 are the most serious offences under legislation administered by the EPA and it requires approval from the EPA Board before commencement. This offence carries a maximum penalty of $2,000,000 for a corporation,” said EPA chair and CEO Barry Buffier.

The EPA alleged that the incident, in July 2013, triggered an emergency response from NSW Fire and Rescue.

It is alleged that the discharge continued for around 80 minutes before a NSW Fire and Rescue officer waded through a pool of petrol to turn off the valve. It is also alleged that it was likely that the discharge could have resulted in ignition of the petrol vapour and a consequential major fire.

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