Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) has fined a fuel cartage business more than $7,500 for causing a spill of about 500 litres of diesel in Wycheproof that had considerable impact on the local environment.

EPA North West Manager Scott Pigdon said EPA fined Ocwen Pty Ltd (Lowes Petroleum Services) after the diesel flowed freely from a Broadway service station into roadside guttering and then into a stormwater drain.

“The diesel has also contaminated a large amount of soil used to contain the spill that needed removing and the community had to put up with a strong diesel odour for days on end,” Dr Pigdon said.

Dr Pigdon said the spill occurred during the decanting process of diesel from a tanker to a storage tank below the surface.

“While the transfer of fuel was occurring, the tanker delivery driver has diverted their attention for about 90 seconds to read the meter on the tanker and unknown to them the hose has dislodged and allowed approximately 500 litres of fuel to spill,” Dr Pigdon said.

Dr Pigdon said the incident could easily have been avoided if standard operating procedures were followed.

“In a statement to the EPA, the driver of the tanker said they had not used this particular tanker before and that the meter on this tanker was different to what they were used to. The risks involved with decanting fuel are well known and an obvious disregard has been shown by the company in allowing this to happen,” Dr Pigdon.

Dr Pigdon said EPA has worked in conjunction with the Buloke Shire Council and the Country Fire Authority to contain the spill.

“The stormwater drain was pumped out and drained of diesel.  A large amount of soil was used as absorbent, and placed across the apron of the service station, in the road side gutters and in the storm water pit.  The resultant contaminated soil was then removed and stored temporarily at the Wycheproof landfill,” Dr Pigdon said.

Extracted from EPA VIC.