The dredging contractor at the centre of a row over toxic mud is facing prosecution on six counts of dumping the contaminated sludge outside a designated mainland site. Government officials said on the third day of an appeal board hearing that Container Terminal 9 joint-venture contractor Hyundai and China Civil Engineering Construction Company was facing prosecution. The company is fighting a ban by the Environmental Protection Department on dumping contaminated mud in mainland waters. The hearing was told the joint-venture had dumped mud into waters outside the designated site near Erzhou Island, 40km south of the SAR, six times between July and September last year. In one case, the mud was dumped 4km from the dump site, officials said. Although the incidents happened in mainland waters, the contractor still allegedly violated requirements of a permit issued by the Environmental Protection Department, including that barges carry a global positioning system to ensure the mud was unloaded at the proper site. The acting site agent of the joint-venture, Shek Hung-yee, told the appeal board that the dumping infringements were not deliberate and were isolated cases from a total of 500 trips. 'A few kilometres is not a far distance as the mud is dumped 40km away from where it is dredged,' he said. 'The captain might not be sure about the exact location. We are not deliberately carrying out short dumpings [outside the designated area].' Mr Shek also said a mainland official told the company in October it did not have to comply with the EPD when it asked for proof that the dumping was not damaging the environment. The comments were allegedly made by Wu Junxiao, director of environmental protection for the State Oceanic Administration in Guangzhou, which runs the Erzhou dump site. 'We asked them if they could compile the items the EPD asked for. But they said we did not have to comply with the department's requirement,' he said. The hearing was adjourned until February 20.