Weston Aluminium paying up after 2021 fire

Weston Aluminium is now paying for a fire at their Kurri Kurri factory in 2021 that saw about 300 firefighters battling the blaze for several days.

Emergency services were called to the Mitchell Avenue site after two pallets of hand sanitiser caught alight and then spread into bushland and into two buildings at the front of the site.

Strong winds fanned the blaze that the owner said at the time caused millions of dollars worth of damage.

The company has now entered into an enforceable undertaking with the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) after an investigation found evidence of multiple breaches of their environment protection licence and the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997.

The NSW EPA said those breaches included failures around the storage of waste material and liquid chemicals, failure to immediately notify authorities after the fire and the unlawful transport and depositing of waste to a neighbouring premises that resulted in land pollution.

EPA Acting Executive Director of Operations Steve Orr said the investigation uncovered a number of problems.

“Weston Aluminium, under direction from the EPA, has prepared a revised Fire Waste Management Plan, improved their waste storage practices, cleaned up waste at the neighbouring premises and are creating a remediation plan for the site.

“Under the terms of the undertaking, Weston Aluminium will pay $200,000 towards environmental initiatives carried out by Mindaribba Local Aboriginal Land Council, which will support a dedicated funded role to undertake a detailed audit of illegal dumping on conservation lands and introduce strategies to prevent and detect illegal dumping in the Kurri Kurri-Cessnock area.

“Western Aluminium has also agreed to pay the EPA’s investigation and legal cost of $43,065.”