Quattro Ports uses methyl bromide to fumigate grain in the silos, and holds an environment protection license issued by the NSW EPA to use methyl bromide.
But according to the NSW EPA, Quattro Ports on June 7 exceeded its licensed methyl bromide limit from a silo, which triggered an alarm on site. The NSW EPA said Quattro Ports did not respond to the alarm and the Port Kemlba facility was unstaffed at the time. A second incident on June 20 was noted in which the NSW EPA said Quattro Ports exceeded its licensed methyl bromide limit again.
In addition to the A$15,000 fine, the NSW EPA said it is requiring Quattro Ports to enlist an independent auditor to audit its fumigation activities under the terms of a pollution reduction program.
“Methyl bromide is hazardous to plants, animals and people,” said Peter Bloem, EPA manager regional operations. “It is also an ozone depleting substance. For these reasons, its use requires vigilant management by staff. On this occasion the environmental impacts were not significant, however the enforcement action is a reflection of risks posed by methyl bromide use and the need to ensure fumigation complies with license requirements at all times.”
Quattro Ports was fined by the NSW EPA in July 2016 after exceeding its licensed methyl bromide limits in April 2016. The company was formed in 2014 by COFCO Agri, Cargill, Emerald Grain and Qube.
The NSW EPA is the primary environmental regulator for New South Wales. The agency partners with business, government and the community to reduce pollution and waste, protect human health, and prevent degradation of the environment.