A construction company that picked up one of the most prestigious awards for quality last year has been convicted of its 36th pollution offence. Gammon Construction was hit with the biggest fine of the 96 levied for pollution offences last month. It was the company's 28th sentence for noise pollution and its eighth for polluting oceans with sludge. Environmental Protection Department assistant director Michael Chiu Tak-lun said government bodies were asked to consider companies' track records when awarding contracts. Gammon, Hong Kong's biggest construction company and favourite for two government contracts worth a combined $1.16 billion - was fined a total of $400,000 last month. Its turnover last year was $11 billion. 'The law is one thing and what the magistrate gives depends on his or her judgment,' Mr Chiu said. 'We have no influence.' The company won a certificate of merit in the Hong Kong Management Association's 1997 Quality Award. The EPD's list of pollution offenders shows Gammon received the biggest single fine - $150,000 - for dumping 4,000 times the legal limit of sludge per litre of water into Victoria Harbour on January 21. Less than a week earlier it was caught dumping waste into Tolo Harbour from a project in Ma On Shan, for which it was fined $90,000. Other water pollution offences took place in Hunghom and Yau Tong. The remainder were for noise pollution. Gammon's Human Resources manager Wiktor Tutlewski said four staff were hired for an environmental section set up in 1996 to counter such problems. 'We are fully aware of our responsibilities under the current environmental legislation. Every effort is made to control the activities and operations of both our construction personnel and equipment, and those of our subcontractors,' he said.