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EMS assisting legal compliance – Tiwest Kwinana’s experience

Janine Prosser

Tiwest Pty Ltd, Kwinana Pigment Plant, Email


In today’s world of increasingly stringent environmental legislation it makes sense for a company to be able to demonstrate on paper that they are compliant with relevant legal and other obligations. Many organisations use environmental ‘reviews’ or ‘audits’ to demonstrate compliance, however these tools provide only a ‘snap shot’ of performance at any one given time and may not be sufficient to provide the organisation with the assurance that they are meeting their obligations.

This paper describes a simple process by which EMS can be used as a frame work to manage an organisation’s legal compliance requirements, and to document the process such that the organisation can be assured that legal obligations have been taken into account across all facets of the operations. The paper also describes how Tiwest’s Kwinana Pigment Plant has utilised their EMS to assist the plant in meeting their legal and other obligations, using the Water Agencies (Water Use) Bylaws 2007 as a worked example.

Key learnings from Kwinana Pigment Plant’s experience indicates that an EMS can be used to assist a corporation in meeting their environmental legal requirements and can also assist in developing ‘ownership’ of legal requirements and the actions implemented to ensure compliance with them.

Key Words

EMS, legal, compliance


Tiwest Kwinana Pigment Plant

Tiwest is a joint equal ownership between Tronox Western Australia Pty Ltd and Exxaro Australia Sands Pty Ltd. Mineral concentrate (ilmenite) from the Cooljarloo mine site is processed at the Chandala Process Plant (north of Perth) into high quality synthetic rutile. The synthetic rutile is then transported by road train to the Kwinana Pigment Plant.

At the Kwinana Pigment Plant (KPP) synthetic rutile undergoes a complex process to produce titanium dioxide (TiO2). Firstly, petroleum coke, SR & chlorine gas is reacted at high temperature to produce titanium tetrachloride (TiCl4 or ‘tickle’). Tickle is then condensed from the gas and purified using a distillation process. The purified tickle is then oxidised to produce raw TiO2 (or ‘pigment’). Pigment is then processed by milling and classification and treated with chemical additions to create the desired grade and characteristics required by the customer. After treatment, pigment is dried and micronised (using superheated steam) to grind to a fine powder. The pigment is then packaged into paper or bulk bags. The plant produces approximately 115,000 tonnes per annum of titanium dioxide.

Potential Environmental Receptors

The KPP is located in the Kwinana Industrial Area (KIA) approximately 43 kilometres south of Perth. The plant is surrounded by neighbouring industries including the BP Petroleum Refinery to the west, CSBP Ltd Industrial Chemicals and Fertiliser Complex to the south, and the Water Corporation Kwinana Water Reclamation Plant (KWRP) to the north-west.

The plant is approximately 1.5 kilometres from the nearest residential areas at Medina, Calista and is boarded by Patterson Road which is a major public and industry access road.

The site is located approximately 2 kilometres east of Cockburn Sound. Cockburn Sound is the most intensively used marine environment in Western Australia. Its sheltered waters are popular for recreational fishing and boating (KIC, 2009). The waters and islands around Cockburn Sound are potentially utilised by several Migratory Marine Species including the Southern Right Whale, Humpback Whale, Loggerhead Turtle, and Migratory Marine Birds including the Bridled Tern, Curlew Sandpiper and Wandering Albatross (Department of Environment, 2008).

Figure 1. The location of Tiwest’s Kwinana Pigment Plant in relation to neighbouring industry and residential areas.

The Regulatory Environment

The site is classified as a Major Hazard Facility (MHF) due to the volumes of dangerous goods stored and processed at the plant. This, coupled with the plant’s close proximity to several potentially significant receptors (as described above), means that the site is stringently regulated by both legislation and Tiwest’s own environmental management commitments.

The site’s primary legislative requirements come from:

  • Kwinana Pigment Plant’s Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) Licence;
  • Ministerial Statement #065 and #1039;
  • Environmental Protection Act 1986 & Regulations;
  • Environmental Protection (Noise) Regulations 1997;
  • Environmental Protection (Kwinana)(Atmospheric Wastes) Policy 1999;
  • Dangerous Goods Safety Act 2004 & Regulations;
  • Dangerous Goods Safety (Major Hazard Facility) Regulations 2007.

Due to the hazardous nature of the chemicals and process, the close proximity to potential environmental receptors, and the stringent legal requirements, it is imperative that KPP ensure compliance with legal and other obligations and minimise potential impacts on the environment to enable the plant to continue to operate.

EMS Assisting Legal Compliance

Why Use EMS to Assist Legal Compliance?

Legal compliance is not always a straightforward, simple thing. Rarely is legislation written in a way that spells out exactly what is required of an operation in black and white terms. Instead terms like ‘reasonable’ and ‘practicable’ are used and the onus is on the company (and industry) to determine what this equates to in terms of environmental performance and management. An EMS can be used as a tool to assist an operation in achieving (and justifying) what is ‘reasonable’ and ‘practicable’ in terms of legal compliance, by ensuring appropriate controls for compliance are identified, assessed and monitored across all elements of the EMS from policy to training and competency and operational control.

With increasingly stringent environmental legislation a company needs to be able to demonstrate to key stakeholders that they are compliant with applicable legislative requirements. The use of environmental ‘reviews’ or ‘audits’ may not be sufficient to provide an organisation with assurance that their performance meets legal and other obligations. As described in ISO14001 Environmental Management Systems – Requirements with Guidance for Use (2004), an EMS is developed and maintained to identify and manage the potential environmental impacts of an operation’s activities, services, and products. The structured, systematic framework described in ISO14001 can be used as a ‘ready made’ framework to assist an organisation to identify and manage the legal and other obligations associated with the operation’s activities, services, and products, thereby assisting in legal compliance. The use of the EMS as a framework provides a structured, documented and systematic process to demonstrate that all facets of the organisation or sites, activities, services and products etc are compliant.

As many operations already have an effective EMS, using this as a tool to assist legal compliance saves on the development and introduction of yet another management system. It also ensures that site personnel who are already familiar with the EMS are also comfortable with the legal compliance process as it follows the same format.

A Simple Process for Using EMS to Assist Legal Compliance

Use of the EMS to assist in legal compliance requires a very simple process to be implemented at the operation. This is a process by which the legislation (or other obligation) is reviewed and actions to ensure the legal requirements are met in all elements of the EMS are developed and assigned responsibility and a timeframe. This ensures that legal and other requirements are covered across all aspects of the organisations activities, services and products. The process is described in Figure 1.

Various processes can be used to assist an organisation to identify the legal and other requirements for compliance, including regular legal updates from consultants, or email newsletters from the State Law Publisher (and other) websites. It is the process for reviewing and complying with the legislation that is the key focus of this paper, and therefore the identification of legal requirements is not discussed further.

Once a piece of new legislation, an amendment to existing legislation, or an obligation is identified, the first step in the process is a Technical Review. A notification is sent to a ‘Technical Reviewer’, who is generally an employee of the organisation familiar with the operations, activities or process to which the legislation applies. For example, the wastewater treatment facility operator would be notified of an amendment to the site DEC Licence imposing new wastewater discharge limits. As the Technical Reviewer understands the way the site operates at the ‘shop floor’, review by such a person allows the development of often simple, practical solutions for legal compliance, which persons outside of the work area may not realise. The technical review also assists the organisation to create ownership of the legal requirements themselves, as well as the actions or processes implemented to comply with them.

As well as a technical review, the legislation should also be reviewed by a systems expert or a ‘Systems Reviewer’. This provides for the ‘bigger picture’ actions to be identified and for the integration of legal requirements into every element of the EMS, and thus all of the operations activities, services and products. The system review may also ensure that any actions overlooked by the Technical Reviewer are documented and implemented and that actions recommended by the technical reviewers are considered for integration into the EMS.

A simple form for capturing the review and recommended actions to address compliance should be used to ensure all elements of the EMS are considered and that the review is documented for historic and audit purposes. An example of a format that could be used to document the legal review is provided as Table 1. The example ‘Legal & Other Obligations Review Form’ has a section for completion by the Technical Reviewer and the Systems Reviewer. The systems section has prompts to consider actions from all parts of the EMS. The prompts follow the elements recommended for an EMS system under ISO14001.

The form should basically develop an action plan by documenting the requirements for updating the EMS to ensure compliance, and assigning responsibility and a timeframe for completion of the actions. Progress towards completing the action plan should be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure actions are being completed in a timely manner, or to assign additional resources should actions not be progressing. This will ensure that the open actions are tracked until they are performed and the EMS has been successfully updated with all the requirements of the legislation.

Figure 2. Kwinana Pigment Plant’s Legal & Other Obligations Review Process

The actions, responsibility and timeframe may optionally be entered into an automated action tracking system which sends an email notification to the person assigned responsibility for the individual action and accountability assigned to their manager.

Completed forms should be entered into a Legal & Other Obligations Register (or similar), where they can be kept for historic purposes to provide an auditable trail of the process, and as a record of the demonstration of the organisation’s compliance with the legal requirements.

An EMS, and the legal and other obligations review process described above, can also be used retrospectively to provide a detailed and documented review of conformance with historic legislation or obligations. In this case the historic legislation is reviewed by a technical and system reviewer against the current operations and any gaps in the systems, procedures and practices that may not meet legal requirements can be addressed with appropriate actions to update the EMS.

An Example of Using EMS to Assist Legal Compliance

Reviewing the Legislation

The legal and other obligations review process described above was recently used at Tiwest’s Kwinana Pigment Plant to assess the legal requirements under the Water Agencies (Water Use) Bylaws 2007 (The Water Bylaws). The Water Bylaws require sites using 20,000kL or more of scheme water per meter reading year to undergo a water assessment, develop a Water Efficiency Management Plan (WEMP), identify water savings opportunities, and to report annually on progress against the WEMP to the Water Corporation.

The Kwinana Pigment Plant has an Environmental Management System (EMS) that is certified to ISO 14001, international standard for EMS. Under the legal & other obligations review process, the EMS was reviewed and updated to ensure the requirements under the Water Bylaws were integrated into all appropriate elements of the EMS, thereby assisting the site to ensure legal compliance with the Bylaws across its activities, services and products. An example of the outcomes of the review is provided in Table 1. It should be noted that Table 1 provides an example of the system review only and that several elements of the EMS that were reviewed are not provided in order to keep the example brief.

Table 1. Example of a Legal & Other Obligations Review Form for the Water-Use Bylaws 2007.

Legislation/Standard Reviewed:

Water Agencies (Water Use) Bylaws 2007


6 Feb 08

System Review By: GL Environment


Stakeholders Consulted:

SHE Manager, General Manager, Area 1 Operations Manager

Item #

Requirement /Non-compliance

Action Required to Address Non-Compliance


Due Date



Water Corporation Assessment – Senior management demonstrates water management.

Policy – Update Environment & Community Statement of Commitment to consider water savings and efficiency projects.

Site Manager

Mar 08



Targets are required to be set annually and reported in the WEMP.

Objectives & Targets - targets for scheme water use reduction (as documented in the site WEMP) are reviewed and set on an annual basis.

Operations Managers

Dec 08



Water Corporation Assessment – conduct water conservation awareness

Competency, Training & Awareness – Develop & rollout a Water Efficiency Awareness presentation.

Environmental Adviser

Nov 08



WEMP and annual progress report to be submitted to Water Corporation.

Documentation – Compile and submit a WEMP and WEMP progress report as per Water Corporation Guidelines

Environmental Adviser

Jul 08



A site water balance is required in the WEMP.

Operational Control – A site Water Balance is to be developed, maintained and reported in the WEMP.

Operations Managers

Jul 08


For the Water Bylaws legal and other obligations review a workshop was held on site with key operations personnel to identify opportunities for improving water efficiency and this contributed to the technical review of the legislation. The site Group Leader Environment completed the system review of the Water Bylaws.

Updating the EMS to Include the New Legal Requirements

The actions, responsibilities and timeframe for each of the requirements under the Water Bylaws review were entered into the site’s action tracking system (CATs). The action tracking system ensures the actions are completed on time.

Once the EMS has been updated with all required actions, the compliance of the site against the Water Bylaws legal requirements will be monitored through the existing EMS audit and review elements.


The use of an EMS provides a structured, documented and systematic process to assist an organisation in complying with relevant legislative requirements and other obligations, and also to enable demonstration to key stakeholders that all facets of the organisation’s activities, services and products are compliant.

Three key learnings:

  • EMS can be used to assist compliance with legislation and other obligations if all elements of the EMS are systematically assessed and updated to reflect the requirements of the legislation.
  • A split process of both technical and systems review of legislation ensures practicality and reasonableness of recommended actions, creates ownership of legal compliance with operations personnel, and ensures a holistic, systematic approach to legal compliance.
  • The legal & other obligations review process can be used to assess and implement actions for compliance with legislation through the EMS but can also be used for other commitments, Standards, Guidelines etc and as a retrospective review of historic legislation.


Department of Environment (2008). EPBC Act Protected Matters Report. Department of Environment website

International Standards Organisation (2004). Standard for Environmental Management Systems (ISO14001:2004)

Kwinana Industries Council (KIC) (2009) website

Tiwest Kwinana Pigment Plant (2008). Tiwest Kwinana Pigment Plant Water Efficiency Management Plan (WEMP). Tiwest Pty Ltd. Australia.

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