Legal action has been launched against a lead smelting facility over the alleged pollution of creek in South Australia.

South Australia’s Environment Protection Authority is prosecuting Nyrstar Port Pirie Ltd for causing serious environmental harm, alleging that between January 31 and February 3 last year, the company discharged or failed to prevent the discharge of about 700 litres of sulphuric acid into First Creek at Port Pirie.

“Potential environmental harm was caused by polluting the environment and creating harmful conditions for fish and other plant and animal life in the creek,” the EPA said in a statement.

Nyrstar has confirmed that the EPA has issued it with a summons to appear in court.

“Following the incident Nyrstar implemented new processes and alarms,” it stated.

“Nyrstar does not intend to provide ongoing commentary in relation to this matter given it involves legal proceedings.”

The issue was first raised in media reports in 2019, which questioned the company over allegations mass fish deaths had occurred in a breeding ground near the factory site.

“The incident occurred following the failure of a valve and ultimately resulted in a discharge into the water course,” Nyrstar said at the time.

“No persisting environmental impact was observed. Nyrstar has subsequently implemented new processes and alarms,” the company said.