Thermopower case postponed again

2011-05-30 14:27

The case against the directors of Thermopower Technologies, the company accused of spilling toxic waste into the environment in Gauteng, has been postponed again.

The trial of Thermopower Technologies’ directors Christos Eleftheriades, Derek Oldnall and David Smith will now take place in October.

They stand accused of nine violations of environmental legislation.

Their trial was postponed after their legal representative informed the magistrate that they were not ready to proceed because they regarded today’s trial date as a “provisional date”.

None of the three directors appeared in the dock, but witnesses were waiting outside to testify in the case.

The group included community members residing in suburbs adjacent to Thermopower’s Olifantsfontein plant.

The company was charged after environmental affairs and tourism department inspectors raided Thermopower and allegedly found that the company had buried waste on its premises and that it had spilled into storm water drains.

Members of the Olifantsfontein community have complained for years about the smelly, toxic emissions allegedly spewed into the atmosphere by Thermopower.

They’ve also claimed that the pollution makes them sick.

The nine charges include burying residue in one of the buildings on site, disposing of residue in storm water drains, and storing waste in leaking containers not properly sealed and ­labelled.

Thermopower is also charged with treating healthcare risk waste and ­general waste together, storing treated waste on the site for more than three months before disposing of it and not submitting discharge papers to the ­authorities.

It is charged with not taking steps to ensure all floors were cleaned and disinfected, of not ensuring that all the residue generated in the treatment process was disposed of at a permitted hazardous waste landfill site on a regular basis, or, alternatively, reclassified for delisting and disposal at a permissible disposal site.

Thermopower is situated on top of a massive dolomitic aquifer from which 3 million litres of Pretoria’s water is drawn a day.

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