Gov’t to impose 150.9 billion-won fine on Hyundai Oil Bank for toxic discharge

SEOUL– The government plans to slap a 150.9 billion-won (US$118.9 million) fine on the country’s leading refinery, Hyundai Oil Bank Corp., for discharging wastewater with unsafe levels of toxic materials, officials said Friday.

The fine is around 1 percent of the company’s annual sales and is the largest amount ever imposed for violating relevant environment laws.

The Ministry of Environment said the decision was prenotified to the company in mid-October and the final amount of the fine can be changed.

Hyundai Oil Bank discharged wastewater containing phenol exceeding the permitted level from its plant in Seosan, about 100 kilometers southwest of Seoul, to a nearly plant operated by its affiliate, Hyundai OCI, between Oct. 2019 and Dec. 2021, the ministry said.

The ministry said sending wastewater to a nearby plant is considered a discharge, in violation of the revised law that came into effect in 2020. Under the law, the ministry can impose a fine not exceeding 5 percent of the company’s annual sales.

The company, meanwhile, said the wastewater was sent to the nearby plant to be used for industrial purposes and was later discharged after undergoing a purification process.

Hyundai Oil Bank argues sending wastewater should not be considered a discharge and Hyundai OCI reused wastewater due to worsening drought.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

Recent POSTS