THE Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has banned a waste management facility in Blayney from treating any waste following an incident in February that hospitalised nine people and forced a nearby school to evacuate because of gas inhalation from a chemical reaction.
Environmental Treatment Solutions (ETS) will have to put “labelling and monitoring systems” in place and provide a “comprehensive report” into ways of reducing risks before it can start operating as normal.
If it fails to comply with the conditions of the prevention notice it risks a penalty notice or possible court action from the EPA.
Although the environmental impacts of the incident were minimal, the EPA slapped a prevention notice on the company because of its “poor environmental record” over the past 12 months, EPA’s south director Gary Whytcross said.
February’s incident was the fourth at the ETS premises since last May, including a fire last August, with the company previously issued with a penalty infringement notice and ordered to conduct an environmental audit.
“The EPA has put in place these restrictions to ensure the ongoing safety and protection of the local environment and community,” Mr Whytcross said.
“The restrictions can only be lifted following a site inspection and written approval from the EPA.”
An ETS spokesperson declined to comment on the EPA’s prevention notice.
ETS is also barred from treating and fixating any acidic or alkali substances until it provides a comprehensive report to the EPA about how it can reduce the risks.
“The EPA believes it was the treatment of these acidic and alkali substances that led to the incident,” Mr Whytcross said.
“The waste treatment company can continue to store and ship substances to other suitable locations for treatment.”