Unauthorised sewage disposal prompts public liability claims

Date: Feb 26, 2016

Infrastructure has evolved in many different ways over the past few centuries. One of the most important developments however, are the sewage systems that keep waste out of the public water supply. For this reason, there are significant penalties for companies that contaminate water in some way.

Depending on the severity of the breach, illegal sewage dumping can result in significant fines for both companies and individuals. The state’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) oversees these concerns and is responsible for handing out penalties to offending parties.

A recent example in Sydney highlights the danger of these events and should prompt people to make public liability claims in the event they are made ill by illegal sewage dumping.

EPA fines NSW water company

A recent event in NSW saw a Sydney water company fined for polluting a popular bay with raw sewage. There are significant health concerns for both humans and the surrounding wildlife that come into contact with this type of waste, which is why there are strict regulations in place.

The company responsible for the breach was fined $15,000 after the EPA declared it was responsible for the events that caused the sewage leak. The event was caused by a nearby processing facility losing power, consequently resulting in 5 million litres of raw sewage being dumped into the ocean.

The EPA revealed that not only could this affect the health of any people who chose to swim in the bay but also the local oyster leases. The situation was made worse by the fact that the company involved didn’t respond for 20 hours after being first notified of the incident.

EPA Acting Director Metropolitan Greg Sheehy said this slow response directly contributed to the size of the fine the offending party received.

“Despite advanced warning that an overflow was likely, [the company’s] staff were not on site until nearly four hours after the incident started,” he began. “[The company] did, however, arrange for a large generator to be connected to the pumping station to stop the overflow after two hours,” he said.

Part of the conditions of managing these facilities include being able to prepare for and respond to any disruptive events such as this as they may lead to public liability claims or other dangers.

To discuss public liability claims in more detail, contact the lawyers at Gerard Malouf and Partners.

Call us now on 1800 004 878 to book a free appointment with one of my compensation experts, or email your enquiry.