Water Week

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Queensland waste company leaked poly­chlorinated biphenyls for three years; Council knew but didn’t tell Environ­mental Protection Agency

Posted by waterweek on 21 September 2007

Caboolture Shire Council knew a Narangba waste treat­ment company was leaking potentially cancer-causing chemicals for three years but did not notify the Environ­mental Protection Agency (EPA), reported The Courier Masil (8/9/2007, p. 3).

Eleven times above agreed levels: A Federal Government con­sultant found the leak during an audit in July, prompting State Environment Minister Lindy Nelson-Carr yesterday to ask the council why she was not notified and why the emission of poly­chlorinated biphenyls, 11 times above agreed levels, was allowed into the sewerage system. “I am outraged this was allowed to occur,” she said. The EPA was notified in July and contacted the council, which stopped the BCD Technologies plant north of Brisbane from making further leaks.

Non-compliance in a grey area: EPA executive director en­vironmental operations Mark Williamson said it was believed the breaches at BCD had oc­curred over a three-year period. But Caboolture Shire Council chief executive Rob Noble said the council acted quickly and responsibly after excessive con­centrations were detected and was working with the EPA to resolve the matter. “Council has complied with parameters under its licence with the EPA, however the issue of non-compliance with trade waste customers is a grey area,” he said. Testing had since shown the chemicals had not entered the Caboolture River or Moreton Bay and at this stage there had been no impact on residents or marine life. PCBs were used primarily as insulation material in electrical goods, The Courier Mail said. They were banned from products manufactured in Aus­tralia from 1979 and in imported goods from 1986.

The Courier Mail, 8/9/2007, p. 3

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