The convenience store chain has been fined more than $7700 for failing to remove the hydrocarbons from groundwater beneath the Newport fuel station in a timely manner.
Environment Protection Authority (EPA) Victoria on Thursday said 7-Eleven knew about the leak as early as 2015 but “failed to undertake any form of clean up” before the EPA’s investigation in February this year.
“An EPA investigation found what has been analysed and appears to be weathered petrol, in groundwater at and in the immediate vicinity of the premises,” EPA Metropolitan Region Manager Daniel Hunt said.
Hunt said EPA would issue the company with a notice that required it to determine the extent of hydrocarbon contamination at and beyond the boundary of its premises, and undertake testing of underground fuel tanks and equipment for any leaks.
Clayton Ford, General Manager, Corporate Affairs at 7-Eleven confirmed the chain received a notice of infringement from the EPA last Friday, and is “still working through the facts”.
“We have already shared information with the EPA that shows the issue is not as clear-cut as it has alleged, and we are seeking further advice in relation to the matter. Recent testing suggests there could be other causal factors than what the EPA has alleged.
“The EPA’s claim that we have failed to act upon the issue since first detected is incorrect. In 2015, 7-Eleven detected some levels of contamination but which did not warrant active remediation. 7-Eleven instituted monitoring at the site, and subsequent testing in late 2016 revealed that the levels of hydrocarbons were rising. Upon receipt of this report, we instructed our consultants to investigate further and to take appropriate remedial action, which is still in process.
“7-Eleven is disappointed by the EPA’s pre-emptive statement before the proper processes have been fully worked through.”