EPA investigates Botany Bay oil spill

THE Environment Protection Authority says an oil spill in Sydney’s Botany Bay during heavy rain last month highlights the potential impact that industry and natural weather events can have on our urban waterways.

In a media release issued yesterday, the EPA states “following the release of oily water into Botany Bay by Caltex Refineries as part of the company’s stormwater management emergency procedures at its Kurnell premises, oil was blown to the northern shoreline and onto rock platforms at Congwong and Little Congwong beaches.”

“While pollution incidents can often be exacerbated or even caused by extreme weather events such as heavy rain, environmental impacts such as that which occurred following this incident on 24 March are unacceptable,” said NSW Environment Protection Authority Chief Environmental Regulator Mark Gifford.

“Industries regulated by the EPA under Environment Protection Licences (EPL) have a duty to report pollution incidents threatening or causing harm to the environment, and are required to prepare Pollution Incident Response Management Plans. The EPA also relies on members of the public who are aware of pollution to report incidents so the appropriate authorities can act as soon as possible.”

The Financial Review has reported that Caltex has been issued with a second clean-up notice by the EPA  – a legal direction ordering the company to carry out a broad assessment of impact from the spill.

“Caltex must submit an update in four months and must have completed the ecological assessment program within six months,” said acting chief environmental regulator Gary Whytcross.

“The final assessment report must be submitted to the EPA by November 22.

“It is hoped that these reports will show recovery of the impacted area.”

Read the EPA media release HERE.

Such incidents can be reported by the public on the EPA Environment Line, 131 555, 24 hours a day seven days a week.

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