A fertiliser company has been fined $120,000 after toxic sludge spewed into a Victorian bay through pipes it thought had been decommissioned.
Incitec Pivot Limited pleaded guilty in Geelong Magistrates Court on Monday to four counts of breaching the Environment Protection Act after the sludge was discovered near a fishing spot at Corio Bay twice in 2017.
In May that year the local council was forced to remove about 10 tonnes of toxic sludge and contaminated soil from the North Shore Fishing Platform, believing it had been illegally dumped.
A month later more sludge was found spewing from pipes belonging to Incitec and into the bay. The company thought the pipes, which were once used in the manufacture of sulphuric acid, had been decommissioned.
Incitec was forced to clean the fishing spot's car park as well as dig up more than 10 tonnes from the bay's seabed.
The EPA said the sludge was highly corrosive, containing concentrations of the chemical cadmium in excess of guidelines required to maintain healthy aquatic life.
Testing conducted six weeks after the clean up showed levels of fluoride, phosphorus, cadmium and zinc at the site were still higher than surrounding areas.
The pipes have since been plugged and the company has revegetated the area.
Incitec was fined $120,000 and ordered to pay EPA's costs of $8000.
The company had already committed to repaying the City of Greater Geelong more than $18,000 for the May clean up.