A Campbellfield rubbish removal business that refused to clean-up industrial waste which it continued to illegally accept on its site has been convicted, fined $15,000, ordered to publicise the details of their offence and ordered to contribute $20,000 towards an environmental project.
Speedie Waste Pty Ltd pleaded guilty at the Broadmeadows Magistrates’ Court last week to one charge of breaching a Clean-Up Notice under s62A(3) of the Environment Protection Act 1970.
The court heard the charge was in relation to the dumping of industrial waste at the company’s premises at 29-31 Halley Crescent, Campbellfield.
The site is not licensed to accept industrial waste of any kind, however EPA started receiving complaints in March 2014 that stockpiles of fill material at the site had the potential to contaminate adjoining wetlands.
When EPA inspected the site in April 2014, it found two large piles containing industrial waste, such as timber, bricks, plastics, concrete and glass and that the stockpile was about 40 metres long, 15 metres wide and five metres tall.
The court was told EPA issued the company with a Clean-Up Notice requiring all industrial waste be removed from the site by 29 August 2014.
However, continued inspections at the site throughout the year found that no waste had been removed and that the stockpile had now stretched to 80 metres long.
Further inspections in February 2015 – ten months after the first visit - found that the waste stockpile had continued to grow and was now so large that it covered almost the entire site.
In sentencing, Magistrate Dunn was critical of the company’s conduct and noted that if it was not for the guilty plea, a substantially larger penalty would have been imposed.
Magistrate Dunn convicted the company and ordered it to:
- Pay EPA’s court costs in full ($12,210.45)
- Publicise details of the offence in the editorial sections of two newspapers
- Pay a fine of $15,000
- Pay $20,000 towards a community project. These funds will be given to the Merri Creek Management Committee to:
- Deliver education and engagement activities to local communities in Campbellfield and Thomastown around Merri Creek on litter and waste issues.
- Provide local school and community groups with tours of the Creek catchment and co-ordinate a learning exchange seminar about waste pollution and the protection of waterways.
- Organise guided educational excursions of the creek and a community event to clean up the Creek.
The court heard EPA’s most recent inspection, in June 2017, found compliance with the clean-up notice had now taken place, however further removal of industrial waste was still required, which will be immediately addressed with a further clean up notice and follow up visits to the site.
EPA Metro Manager Dan Hunt said it was disappointing the company chose to ignore EPA’s Clean-Up Notice.
“The fact that the company ignored the notice and continued to accept industrial waste to a point where it had more than doubled in size shows a complete disregard for the environment and the impacts upon the local community.
“Clean-Up Notices aim to prevent further contamination through the removal of waste. If a site is not managed properly and does not have the relevant licences or permits, waste on the site has the potential to impact on the surrounding environment by contaminating wetlands and entering stormwater systems.”