Mark McGowan

Mark McGowan

Minister for Education and Training; South West

    Minister orders inquiry into Alcoa's Wagerup caustic spill

    21/07/2005 12:00 AM

    Acting Environment Minister Mark McGowan has ordered a full investigation following a chemical spill at Alcoa’s Wagerup operation yesterday.

    Mr McGowan said he was advised last night that a spill of more than 500,000 litres of caustic solution had occurred.

    The spill happened at about 2am yesterday but the department was not notified until after 5pm yesterday.

    “The Government wants a full explanation of the circumstances of the spill, including why it took Alcoa about 15 hours to advise the Department of Environment formally that it had occurred.”

    The Acting Minister said the Department of Environment’s Enforcement Unit was visiting the refinery this morning to determine if there had been any environmental impacts. He also said he had asked department’s acting director general, Derek Carew-Hopkins, to meet with Alcoa to express the Government’s strong dissatisfaction with the chain of events.

    The DoE was liaising with the local community tripartite group - a joint initiative among the local community, DoE and the company.

    “The Government views this very seriously,” Mr McGowan said.

    “We are very disappointed this incident has occurred.

    “The company recently was fined $11,000 following a spill of between 490 and 1,750 kilolitres of caustic soda into the environment from storage tanks at its Kwinana storage facility in June last year.

    “As well, the Government has endorsed actions the company is taking to reduce the incidence of spills at its Kwinana facility. We would expect the company would show a similar level of commitment to its other operations.”

    Minister's office: 9220 5050