Pollution from the New Year petrol tanker blaze at Figtree flowed into creeks, killing eels and making its way to the sea, the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has said.
The Western Sydney trucking company behind the blaze has now been ordered to clean up the pollution caused by the incident on January 4.
About 8.30am that day a 35,000-litre tanker ignited into a fireball and burned for hours before scores of firefighters managed to contain the fire after noon.
Between the burning fuel and the firefighting foam used over those hours, large amounts of hydrocarbons and pollutants generated by the fire ended up being washed into a tributary of Byarong Creek, which drains into Allen Creek and then Port Kembla Harbour.
This Wednesday SRN Transport, based at Condell Park, was given a formal clean-up notice from the EPA, which had representatives on the scene on January 4.
The EPA detected heavy hydrocarbon odours in and around the waterways downstream of the fire, as well as dead animals and foams.
The EPA spoke to SRN owner Sami Matlej, and Joe Zaatini, who said he represented SRN Transport, on the day of the incident.
“The EPA observed a number of dead eels in the unnamed tributary and Byarong Creek downstream of the incident site,” the agency said,
“The EPA gave SRN Transport an oral direction to carry out clean up actions in the waters downstream of the incident site, and to recover fire pollutants generated from the fire.”
The EPA also directed SRN Transport to employ an environmental specialist to assess downstream impacts and to advise on clean-up and remedial actions.
SRN must now implement measures to prevent and mitigate further pollution, as well as developing mediation plans for the waterway.
“Consideration must be given to the community gardens on the flood plains adjacent to the unnamed Byarong tributary, any water users and nearby recreational areas (Figtree Oval), and the environmental values of the receiving waters and Port Kembla Harbour,” the EPA said.
The EPA observed a number of dead eels in the unnamed tributary and Byarong Creek downstreamNSW EPA