The NSW premier has warned chemical giant Orica against further environmental blunders after it was handed the largest environmental fine in NSW.
Serial polluter Orica has been warned not to cause more damage to the NSW environment after being slapped with a record fine.
The chemical giant was on Monday fined just over three quarters of a million dollars for seven “pollution incidents” between October 2010 and December 2011, mostly from its Kooragang Island manufacturing plant in Newcastle’s north.
Chromium 6 or hexavalent chromium, a toxic substance, was released into the atmosphere through steam from the Kooragang plant in Stockton.
The NSW Land and Environment court dished out the largest financial penalty in its history – $768,250 – because of the fear and distress the incidents at Stockton caused the public.
NSW Premier Mike Baird praised the court for imposing the “significant” penalty.
“We are not going tolerate anyone that imposes that sort of environmental risks and doesn’t contain them,” he told reporters.
“From my point of view they need to continue to be vigilant. They better make sure they do.”
The fine will be used to partly fund seven environmental projects in the Hunter Valley and Botany.
Orica’s shabby record extends beyond NSW.
In November 2012, it was ordered by a Queensland Court to pay $432,000 towards turtle research and conservation, and water monitoring initiatives, in Gladstone Harbour after pleading guilty to releasing cyanide-contaminated effluent on 217 occasions between March and May 2011.
Orica says it will spend $200 million fixing and improving its Kooragang Island and Botany sites.
The company reported a half year profit of $242 million in March.