AIE fined $15K for alleged murky water discharge

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has fined Australian Industrial Energy Pty Ltd (AIE) $15,000 for allegedly discharging a plume of turbid water the size of a football field from its Port Kembla Gas Terminal into the Port Kembla Outer Harbor last September.

NSW EPA photo

The discharge occurred during dredging works for a new energy terminal in the Port Kembla Inner Harbour which involved shifting 700,000 cubic metres of dredge spoil and other material into an emplacement area in the Outer Harbour.

On 6 and 7 September 2023, AIE allegedly failed to operate its silt curtain properly resulting in a large visible sediment plume discharging from the operations.

This resulted in a significant change in the color of the ocean in the Outer Harbor.

Ensuring the silt curtain is operating properly is crucial for reducing the potential for sediment movement outside the area of excavation,” said EPA Executive Director Regulatory Operations, Jason Gordon.

Licensees must comply with the requirements of their licence. We will take appropriate action where operations fail to maintain appropriate environmental controls.”

AIE has now taken measures to prevent future occurrences and protect the Outer Harbour marine environment.