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  • Porsche blames apprentice for Yarra River spill
  • By Shannon Deery
  • Herald Sun
  • 24/05/2019 Make a Comment
  • Contributed by: Andy ( 6 articles in 2019 )
Car firm fined for Yarra River Pollution

LUXURY car company Porsche will pay out just $130,000 after an oil poisoned millions of litres of water in the Yarra River.

The firm was yesterday ordered to donate $100,000 to a community project after pleading guilty to Environment Protection Act breaches.

It faced maximum penalties of more than $700,000 over the spill.

But magistrate Shiva Pillai said the $100,000 donation, as well as an agreement to pay prosecution costs of $32,000 and publish a notice in the daily newspaper about the incident, was an appropriate sentence.

The company escaped conviction.

Jeremy Gobbo QC, for Porsche, said the luxury car brand has spent years building its profile and was “extremely anxious not to tarnish its reputation".

An EPA prosecutor told the court just one litre of oil could make more than 1 million litres of water unsafe for aquatic and marine life.

The accidental spill happened after a 5000-litre diesel tank underneath the company's Collingwood showroom and and workshop overflowed.

The company blamed an apprentice who hadn't received a directive from management not to use the tank after it stopped being emptied during last year's Christmas holiday period.

It is unclear how much oil was pumped into the river but after the leak was discovered testing estimated it was pouring in at a rate of one litre every minute.

“Clearly, it's not deliberate, but clearly, a serious breakdown in communication,” Mr Gobbo said.

Mr Gobbo told the court Porsche had fully co-operated with authorities, made full admissions, and installed a new tank that had an overflow valve and sounded an alarm when full.

It had also paid for the clean-up effort after the spill was discovered.

EPA CEO Dr Cathy Wilkinson said she hoped the case served as a lesson to other businesses.

“A shut-off valve and better communication could have avoided hundreds of litres of oil entering the Yarra River and saved Porsche significant clean-up and court costs.

Dr Wilkinson said Porsche would donate $100,000 to the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation to help improve water quality, revegetate the banks and investigate reintroducing native shellfish.

Original Article (24/5/19)
Porsche to face court over alleged oil spill in Yarra River

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