Caltex ordered to pay record sum for petrol spill

Caltex Australia has been convicted and ordered to pay $850,000 for a 2013 incident in which 150,000lt of unleaded petrol gushed into a bund at their Banksmeadow fuel terminal in the Port Botany Industrial Estate.

The Land and Environment Court ordered that Caltex pay a $400,000 Environmental Service Order plus $450,000 in Environment Protection Authority (EPA) legal costs. The penalty is a record amount for a single prosecution brought by the NSW EPA.

EPA Chair and CEO Barry Buffier says he is pleased with the result, as it was a serious incident that was entirely preventable.

“Caltex procedures resulted in 150,000lt of highly flammable fuel flooding into a bunded area, which could have caused significant environmental and community impact,” he said.

“Fortunately, that did not happen in this instance, but that does not lessen the significance of the incident.”

The incident happened when a hose disengaged during a transfer of petrol from a storage tank, creating a fountain of fuel that spilled into the bund and doused two onsite contractors, who were taken to hospital. A firefighter was also taken to hospital after attending the scene.

Workers from a neighbouring industrial premises were also evacuated and local roads were closed due to the potential risk of fire or explosion.

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