No appeal for contractor pouring contaminants down the drain

A YANDINA business found guilty of dumping contaminates into a stormwater drain has had its bid to have the crime overturned rejected in the state's highest court.

Palmgrove Holdings Pty Ltd was convicted in the Maroochydore Magistrates Court earlier this year of unlawfully depositing a prescribed water contaminant in stormwater drainage as defined under the Environmental Protection Act.

The court heard the business had been carrying out works on a construction site and was permitted to release water from the site only where the concentration of total suspended solids did not exceed 50 milligrams per litre.

But a subsequent Sunshine Coast Regional Council investigation revealed the business had exceeded that level to the tune of 600 milligrams per litre.

The business appealed the initial decision to the Maroochydore District Court and lost.

The court heard a council engineer had inspected the construction site after heavy rain had fallen which caused water to flow from a sediment basin on the site.

He observed significant erosion from an area on the site which had been spread with topsoil.

The court heard the resulting sediment was being carried through an open manhole and through a stormwater pipe into the sediment basin and was draining out of the basin through two uncapped PVC pipes.

The engineer told the court a sample test of the water returned a result of 600 milligrams per litre of suspended solids.

But the business took its fight to the Queensland Court of Appeal which heard, during a hearing last month, the business claim unsuccessfully that the water sample did not represent a true indication of the water sample taken from the site.

The court, in handing down its findings this week, concluded the evidence supported the District Court's finding as to the water's contamination because it did not leave open other rational possibilities.

The judgment did not reveal what penalty, if any, was imposed on the business and where the construction site was located.

- APN NEWSDESK.


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