Followmont's $174k lake clean-up bill warns others


<font color=red><b>DG WARNING:</b></font> Followmont Transport forced to pay more than $174,000 for Innisfail chemical spill

September 21, 2009

Transport operators have been warned over carrying toxic chemicals, with a Queensland carrier left with a $174,000 bill for an accident that killed more than 200 fish.

Followmont Transport and employee David Ansin pleaded guilty in the Brisbane Magistrates Court to charges relating to the release of highly toxic farm chemical into Innisfail's Warrina Lakes in December 2007.

The company was fined $25,000 and Ansin $2,800, with both paying $6,000 for investigation costs.

The company contributed $125,000 to help with clean-up efforts, when a 20-litre drum of Endosulfan was pierced and leaked from a storage area into Warrina Lakes and the Johnstone River.

Followmont also agreed to commit $10,000 for education advertisements on local media, and have since put in place improved handling procedures and training for staff.

No convictions were recorded.

Queensland Climate Change and Sustainability Minister Kate Jones says it is a warning to all transport operators.

"This is a great result for everyone who cares about and enjoys Warrina Lakes environmental park and it sends a strong message to everyone who deals with toxic materials to be constantly vigilant about how they are handled," she says.

"I am pleased that Followmont Transport and Mr Ansin have accepted their responsibility for the incident."

Jones says operators must deal with any spill immediately to protect nearby waterways.

"Advise the local authority and DERM [Department of Environment and Resource Management], as failure to do so may make you liable for an offence," she says.

More than 200 fish died, an investigation by DERM found, including barramundi, freshwater eels and tarpon.

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