BlueScope Steel Limited has been fined $30,000 for allegedly failing to comply with dioxin air emission limits on six occasions in March and April 2020.
The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) fine comes after BlueScope shut down part of the Port Kembla steelworks in May after high levels of air pollution were detected on four different dates.
BlueScope recorded the limit exceedances emissions "for this potentially harmful substance" between 26 March and 28 April during major maintenance activities at the Sinter Plant Waste Gas Cleaning Plant.
EPA regulatory operations metropolitan director Giselle Howard said BlueScope responded to the exceedances by completing air emissions modelling and engaging an independent consultant to undertake a health assessment of the elevated emissions.
"High levels of dioxins can be extremely harmful to human health, on this occasion air emissions modelling and a health assessment have shown that community impacts were unlikely from the emissions," Ms Howard said.
"The local community has an expectation that every effort must be made to ensure that licensees will comply with their licence requirements and have best practice controls in place to protect people and the environment."
BlueScope Australian Steel Products.manufacturing general manager David Bell said "BlueScope acknowledges the recent EPA response to licence exceedances which occurred at our Sinter Plant during March and April this year while essential and extensive maintenance activity of the waste gas cleaning plant (which cleans gas from the Sinter Plant) was carried out.
"There is a significant safety factor built into our licence limits in this instance - they are set many times below the level that would be likely to result in a hazard to public health.
"Nevertheless, BlueScope takes the exceedances extremely seriously and we have taken a number of actions in response, including some which are in addition to those required by the EPA."
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