EPA acts on Salsa spill at Campbellfield

While Fawkner residents still have unanswered questions with the EPA over the Fawkner toxic site, a recent spill in Campbellfield was promptly acted upon by the EPA.

A spill of tomato salsa from Baxters Foods Australia P/L, of Jesica Road, Campbellfield into a drain that connects with Merri Creek brought prompt action of a fine issued for $7773 and a notice and a legally enforceable instruction to the company to modify and install controls to ensure waste from the site is not able to enter the soil or stormwater.

“While tomato salsa might not be an immediate threat to human health, the concentration found in the stormwater drain near the factory was high enough to reduce the oxygen content of creek water and threaten aquatic life such as frogs, fish, insects and algae,” said EPA Metro Manager Peter Kerr.

“From that drain, the spill had the potential to reach Merri Creek, which flows into the Yarra River. Testing at the factory’s drainage outlet showed the spill contained many times the level of suspended solids that is permitted in the creek.”

“Investigations showed the spill had occurred after a pump failure in a waste separation pit. The pump was not on any maintenance schedule, there was no barrier around the pit to trap any overflow, and there were no alarms within the pit to alert staff of the overflow,” Mr Kerr said.

“Hume City Council cleaned up the spill offsite, as the factory had no environmental management plan to deal with spills like this.”

Read the full statement on the EPA website, published 12 September 2017.

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