Flower farm fined for oil spill

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A commercial flower farm that allowed thousands of litres of fuel oil to spill into a Moorooduc waterway has been ordered to pay Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) $500,000 in compensation and fined $150,000.

On Wednesday 11 March, Aaree Pty Ltd and its director Admir Isovski, faced five charges under the the Environment Protection Act 1970 at Frankston Magistrates Court for causing environmental hazard, pollution of water and failing to comply with the requirements of an EPA notice

The incident occurred in July 2017 at Barakee Reserve Outfall Drain, Moorooduc when a greenhouse on the Coolart Road property, which used a water heater fueled by waste oil, caught fire causing damage to the generator which then started to leak oil into the nearby drain.

EPA received calls from concerned residents who reported seeing black oil in the drain and a private drain leading to the reserve.

The resulting clean-up by Melbourne Water took two months to remove 1.2 million litres of liquid waste, 687 tonnes of soil waste and 45 tonnes of other contaminated waste from one kilometre of the waterway.

The court also ordered Aaree to pay EPA costs of $11,663 and sentenced Admir Isovski to 200 hours of community work.

EPA Southern Metropolitan regional manager Marleen Mathias said it was the responsibility of the duty holder to have controls in place to manage environmental risks and on this occasion a lack of controls resulted in a major pollution event.

“In this instance, the community has carried a large part of the cost of the clean-up and the fine and the compensation will help redress some of this imbalance,” Ms Mathias said.

First published in the Western Port Times – 25 March 2020

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