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Australian court orders Visy Paper to pay $100,000 following 2008 gas incident

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Australian court orders Visy Paper to pay $100,000 following 2008 gas incident

August 17, 2010 - 19:18
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VICTORIA, Australia, Aug. 18, 2010 (Press Release) -On 17 August 2010 at Heidelberg Magistrates' Court, Visy Paper Pty Ltd pleaded guilty to an environmental hazard charge brought by the Environment Protection Authority (the "EPA"). The charge related to a chemical incident at Visy's premises in Reservoir on 12 December 2008.

The incident occurred when a contractor for Omega Chemicals made an 18,000 litre delivery of sodium hypochlorite (hypo) to Visy. The driver connected his truck to the wrong tank, causing a chemical reaction and the release of a plume of chlorine gas. Visy was prosecuted because it failed to ensure that its hazardous substance handling procedures were strictly followed.

The Metropolitan Fire Brigade evacuated the Visy premises, surrounding businesses and the Lakeside Secondary College.

Fourteen people where taken to hospital for eye and lung irritation. All were discharged later that day.

The Court without convicting Visy ordered it to pay $100,000 to the City of Darebin for a project to improve the environment surrounding Edwardes Lake in Reservoir. The Accused was ordered to pay EPA's costs of $8738.82.

Visy has since installed locks on its chemical storage tanks and retrained all delivery drivers to prevent a recurrence of this incident.