||Significant Inspection Findings
||Further Developments and Status of Enforcement Process
||Inspection findings included in the 2007/2008 report, as referred to in the 2010 report, were as follows:
- more than 10 unpermitted and unlined disposal sites, both operative and inoperative, many of which are hazardous waste sites;
- significant groundwater contamination as a result of these unlined waste sites;
- significant fugitive emissions from metal and slag tapping; and
- failure to lodge audit reports and environmental management plans as required by numerous EIA authorisations.
|In the 2010 report, it was stated that the ‘status quo’ in relation to earlier inspections was as follows:
After the compliance inspection report was issued and representations received from the facility in 2008, the Gauteng Provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (“GDARD”) [then Gauteng Provincial Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Environment (“GDACE”)] issued the facility with a pre-compliance notice in terms of section 31L of the NEMA and a pre-directive in terms of section 28(4) of the NEMA. This pre-notice requested the facility to provide GDARD with reasons why the facility should not be issued with a final notice requiring the submission of certain information and implementation of additional measures primarily aimed at waste disposal on site as well as the pelletising plant.
After review of the representations submitted in response to the pre-notice, the GDARD decided to issue a final notice on 20 March 2009 focusing on those issues related to the pelletising plant. Further representations and information were provided to GDARD. GDARD together with the national department will decide on further enforcement action that may be required in the next financial year.
||In the 2011 report, the findings of the 2007 report were restated slightly:
- Non-compliances to conditions of the authorisations;
- All waste disposal sites were not permitted;
- Several EIA unauthorised activities for which S24G applications had been submitted to GDACE;
- Significant number of activities causing pollution to the environment;
- Outstanding water use license;
- Detailed EMP was not submitted to the Department prior to commencement of the Project;
- No Material Safety Data Sheet on the hazardous waste; and
- No records of waste stored at the salvage yard.
|The following information was also reported:
Notice of intention to issue a Section 31L NEMA notice and Section 28(4) NEMA directive issued. Representations received in response to pre-notice, including action plans. Further review required by national department in order to determine way forward. A follow-up inspection will need to be undertaken in next financial year.
|A follow-up inspection was carried out in August 2011, and the principal findings were as follows:
- Non-compliances to conditions of authorisations still ongoing;
- Historical waste disposal sites which are unlined still not rehabilitated and creating potential for groundwater pollution; Applications to legalise these disposal sites were not yet submitted despite Samancor committing to apply for waste management licences;
- Unlined Amcor Dam still used for disposal of contaminated stormwater, excess process water and treated sewage effluent;
- Failure to comply with general duty of care in respect of waste management on site.
|The status of the enforcement process was reported as follows:
Notice of intention to issue a Section 31L NEMA notice and Section 28(4) NEMA directive issued. Representations received in response to pre-notice, including action plans. Criminal investigation has been recently initiated.
|In the 2013 report, it was stated that:
Notice of intention to issue a Section 31L NEMA notice and Section 28(4) NEMA directive was issued by GDARD based on the findings of the baseline inspection.
Representations were received by GDARD in response to pre-notice, including action plans.
Based on the findings of the follow-up inspection, a decision was taken to initiate a criminal investigation, which is running parallel to an administrative enforcement process. A search warrant was executed at the facility on 12 September 2012 during which various documentation was seized.
Based on the information obtained, a S31H NEMA notice was issued to the facility as part of the administrative enforcement process. A request for extension to submit the information requested in the S31H NEMA notice was received and was granted until 19 March 2013. The information submitted will be reviewed and determine the administrative enforcement action, if any, to be taken against the facility.
||In 2014, the following update was provided regarding the status of the enforcement process:
The response (to the section 31H notice) has been received and reviewed and numerous meetings between the facility and DEA have taken place to discuss the site improvements, as well as progress on the action items and commitments made.
A follow-up site inspection was conducted in March 2014 to verify site conditions and improvements. DEA is currently in the process of communicating its findings to the facility.
In addition to the above administrative process, criminal investigations were initiated against the facility post the 2011 inspection. These investigations are running parallel to the administrative enforcement process. A search warrant was executed at the facility in September 2012 during which various documentation was seized.
||The information was updated as follows:
A first appearance in court is scheduled for 21 July 2015 in the Vereeniging Regional Court. An enforcement strategy has been developed and further administrative enforcement action is underway.
||A follow up inspection was conducted on 3 and 4 August 2015, and the following non-compliances were noted:
- Non-compliances with conditions of the AEL, WMLs and WUL were observed. These ranged from administrative non-compliances, emissions exceeding AEL limits, lack of abatement equipment availability during the required operating times, lack of monitoring of certain water quality variables, failure to hold monitoring committee meetings as required, etc.
- Contraventions of section 67 of NEM:WA, section 28 of NEMA and section 19 of NWA were evident, including: excessive dust on site, damaged liners at
the sludge dams, unlined disposal sites and groundwater contamination.
|The following information is provided on the status of enforcement action in 2016:
- DEA issued South 32 with a PCN on 04 March 2016.
- Representations from South 32 have been received and are in the process of being reviewed.
- A criminal case was enrolled but a trial date is still to be determined.