Rex Nunzio D’Aquino pleaded guilty in Orange Local Court to a charge of polluting waters after he instructed an employee to empty 21 1000-litre drums into a drain leading from the helipad at Highland Heritage Estate to Summer Hill Creek.
Environmental Protection Authority prosecutor Daniel Zanello said the offence was in the lower level of seriousness, however D’Aquino had known the drums had previously contained the chemicals and failed to read the label warnings.
However, defence solicitor Rick O’Gorman-Hughes said D’Aquino had completed a course in hazardous chemicals and had implemented a policy within his business. He also argued a paddock separated the drain from Summer Hill Creek and D’Aquino had complied with EPA requirements to clean the site.
According to the agreed facts, D’Aquino believed the drums contained rainwater and instructed staff to empty them into the drain, despite one employee noticing a green-yellow tinge and suggesting the contents be buried instead.