Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) has fined Western Land Reclamation Pty Ltd more than $7,700 for beaching a condition of its EPA licence at its Brooklyn landfill.
EPA Metro Manager Daniel Hunt said EPA investigators had used drone technology to spot the licence breach from above the site in November 2016.
“EPA invested in new surveillance gear last year and it has already caught several sites out, particularly, as in this case, around a licence condition that requires operators of landfills to cover exposed waste at the end of operations for the day,” Mr Hunt said.
Mr Hunt said the operators of the landfill had been warned about breaching the condition in the past and were well aware of the EPA licence requirements.
“The licence conditions for Western Land Reclamation’s Brooklyn landfill clearly state that waste contained in landfill cells must have a covering of 15 centimetres of soil, or a cover approved by EPA, placed over any exposed waste at the end of each day,” Mr Hunt said.
Mr Hunt said the drone had been launched over the site after investigators had seen staff leave the site for the day and detected that no heavy machinery was active.
“EPA’s drone was able to capture footage of uncovered waste in a landfill cell that appeared to be industrial in nature and included the likes of wooden pallets, rolls of carpet, a mattress and a large roll of discarded paper,” Mr Hunt said.
Mr Hunt said EPA included the need to cover waste at the end of the day in licence conditions to protect the local environment.
“By covering exposed litter at the end of each day, it greatly reduces the possibility of odour impacting on local residents. It also lessens the chances of litter being blown about by the elements and leaving the premises,” Mr Hunt said.
“Waste coverage also means that the likes of vermin can’t get easy access to it; and should it rain, the potential for contaminated runoff entering a stormwater system is also greatly reduced by the coverage.”
Mr Hunt said the company was also fined in 2016 for a licence breach that related to dust being discharged from its landfill onto Bunting Road.
EPA urges members of the public to report suspected pollution to the EPA on 1300 372 842 (1300 EPA VIC) or at www.epa.vic.gov.au