A West Wimmera man has spent almost $100,000 complying with three Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) notices that required the clean-up of illegally dumped demolition waste spread across three local farms.
EPA North West Team Leader of Field Operations Danny Childs said the cost to legally remove the waste – that included asbestos – would have only cost the man about $15,000, but instead the final bill came to $95,000.
“Taking the gamble of disposing this industrial waste illegally has cost the man $80,000 more than it would have if he had chosen to do the right thing and dispose of it through an appropriate facility licensed to receive it,” Mr Childs said.
Mr Childs said the EPA launched an investigation into the illegal dumping following an anonymous report from a member of the public last November.
“Because of the public report EPA was able to gain the information it needed to find the waste that had come from three buildings that were burnt, demolished and buried on these farms,” Mr Childs said.
“Earlier this year, the man responsible was issued with fines of over $5,000 by EPA for his actions and served the three clean-up notices that have resulted in him being a further $80,000 out of pocket.”
Mr Childs said that during its investigation EPA had collected an extensive evidence brief that the West Wimmera Shire Council had now requested for review.
“The local council has asked for EPA’s evidence so it can consider whether it should pursue sanctions under the Building Act 1993 for actions at the three West Wimmera farms,” Mr Childs said.
Mr Childs said EPA was determined to reduce the 350,000 tonnes of construction and demolition waste illegally dumped in Victoria each year.
“In 2014/15, EPA issued 129 remedial notices relating to illegal dumping – 70 per cent of these notices involved the dumping of construction and demolition wastes such as concrete, asbestos, timber and bricks,” Mr Childs said.
“Construction and demolition type waste is classified as Industrial Waste under the Environment Protection (Industrial Waste Resource) Regulations 2009. This material can only be disposed of at sites permitted or licensed to accept it.
“Landowners can learn how to correctly dispose of waste by visiting the EPA website, which has advice on legal environmental obligations.”
EPA urges members of the public to continue reporting suspected pollution to the EPA on 1300 372 842 (1300 EPA VIC) or at www.epa.vic.gov.au