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Fertiliser company convicted over bayside toxic sludge debacle

A fertiliser company has been convicted and fined $120,000 for allowing toxic sludge to flow into Geelong’s Corio Bay and contaminate tonnes of seabed and soil.

Incitec Pivot Limited pleaded guilty in the Geelong Magistrates Court on Monday to four counts of breaching the Environment Protection Act after two incidents in 2017 that saw toxic and highly corrosive sludge bubble through old pipes.

The court heard the City of Greater Geelong was forced to remove 9.6 tonnes of soil after the sludge was found in the carpark of the North Shore Fishing Platform on May 24, 2017.

It was initially thought the sludge had been illegally dumped, until Incitec discovered through another incident less than a month later that it was bubbling through a former seawater cooling system it thought had been decommissioned.

Incitec, based in Geelong, was also required to remove soil and seabed from the affected areas following the Environment Protection Authority investigation.

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