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EPA fines Bluescope Steel over water pollution

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has issued a
penalty notice of $1,500 to BlueScope Steel over a spill containing cyanide
that entered a drain at the Port Kembla Steel Works.

In addition, the EPA ordered the companyto undertake two Pollution Reduction Programs because of the incident which breached
the conditions of its Environment Protection Licence (EPL).

EPA’s Manager of Illawarra region, Mr Peter Bloem said in a
statement that the incident took place on July 1, 2014. Coke ovens gas
condensate, containing cyanide at levels that breached BlueScope’s EPL limit,
discharged into a drain and killed fish.

“BlueScope reported the incident immediately and
investigations showed that the discharge was caused by a blockage in a
condensate collection system, resulting in 3,000-5,000 litres of condensate
entering into the drain,” said Mr Bloem.

He said the Pollution Reduction Programs Bluescope will have
to undertake will cost the company more than $400,000.

“The incident appears
isolated but it has had demonstrated environmental impacts and our response
takes into account BlueScope’s cooperation with the investigation and
corrective actions that tighten environmental controls and reduce the risk of a
similar incident happening again,” he added.

According to the Illawarra Mercury, the spill was contained
on the Bluescope site and posed no threat to the public.

A spokesman from BlueScope told the Illawarra Mercury the
company “regrets” the incident.

“A number of corrective actions have since been put in
place to prevent a similar occurrence. This includes modifications to the
system to ensure any future overflows will be contained, as well as an
engineering study to redesign the drainage network in that area,” he said.

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