National Foods Milk Limited was sentenced last Friday in the Hobart Magistrates Court to a charge of causing material environmental harm. The company was fined ,000 and ordered to pay .59 costs incurred.
The charges were laid against the company and a contractor following an investigation by the Environment Division into a discharge of ammonia in October 2005 from National Foods Milk’s factory in Lenah Valley.
The discharge occurred as a result of work being carried out by the contractor on a refrigeration system.
Water contaminated with ammonia was allowed to flow into the stormwater system from where it entered the New Town Rivulet.
High concentrations of ammonia are toxic to marine environments and some 300 dead fish were found by investigating officers and residents over a distance of about two kilometres downstream.
The contractor, Kibbey and Cooper Pty Ltd pleaded guilty to a charge of causing material environmental harm in the Hobart Magistrates Court and is due to be sentenced in November.
The Director of Environmental Management, Warren Jones, said it is important companies are aware that they are also responsible for the environmental performance of contractors they engage.
"Companies must manage their sites and ensure that contractors are aware of the potential environmental impacts of their activities and that they do take appropriate precautions to prevent harm.
This incident could easily have been avoided if there had been appropriate planning and safeguards put in place."