Contractor pleads guilty to environmental breaches

 John Holland is likely to be fined after a series of environmental breaches at its Dalrymple Bay and Abbot Point coal terminal extensions.

The Queensland Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM) may level its maximum fine of $5 million at the company, however a fine of between $180 000 and $220 000 is more likely, the Daily Mercury reports.

Despite 76 charges being laid against John Holland, the DERM will only pursue seven charges over environmental breaches.

The company reportedly consistently failed to capture abrasive sand blasted from metal and plastic structures at the coal loader terminal extension projects.

Heavy metals are also believed to have been mixed with the discharges, such as zinc and barium.

These breaches occurred from September 2008 until June 2009, and while the company was warned of its environmental transgressions, it allegedly did nothing until the DERM inspections were instigated.

However, John Holland state that the company had carried out regular meetings with contractors to ensure it did not break the law.

It also called on an environmental scientist, David Petch, who claimed that the metals were below dangerous levels and would most likely only cause turbidity in the water.

A verdict will be handed down next month.


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