Chemix director fined over chemicals storage

The director of a firm which ran a waste transfer station for solvents, paints and other special wastes has been fined £5,000 after admitting eight breaches of the site's waste management licence.

Chemix (UK) ran a special waste transfer station on an industrial estate in Standish, near Wigan, where it segregated and bulked up waste paints, inks, oil, thinners and solvents. The licence was granted to company director Paul McGuire in 1997.

The Environment Agency served an enforcement notice on the site in May 2004 because it failed to comply with 16 licence conditions. Chemix was given up to three months to comply but failed to do so.

Among the offences committed in the seven months up to May 2004 were: failure to maintain and repair the site surfaces and containment system, failure to check, sample and analyse wastes and failure to seal drums securely.

Chemix also failed to provide suitable laboratory facilities after it moved from a nearby site. The firm failed to label drums clearly with the receipt date and the source, so it was impossible to trace the waste or tell how long it had been stored.

Although the site was permitted to store 534 drums, an Agency audit in February 2005 counted over 1,200 on the premises.

Appearing before Wigan magistrates on 4 September, Mr McGuire pleaded guilty to eight charges of breaching licence conditions, contrary to section 33(6) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, and as a company director consenting, conniving or being negligent in relation to the offences, contrary to sections 157 and 33(6) of the Act.

Mr McGuire was fined a total of £5,000 for all eight charges and ordered to pay costs of £3,929 to the Environment Agency.

Chemix went into liquidation in August 2004 but finished removing waste from the site in the weeks before the case was heard. n

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