Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) says spring is the renovation season as Victorians get busy redecorating and building, but it’s also the illegal dumping season with far too many skip bin loads of renovation waste going missing.
Chris Webb of the EPA’s Illegal Waste Disposal Strikeforce says anyone hiring a skip bin should be careful to choose a respectable company.
“Illegal dumping contaminates the environment, it disadvantages the honest businesses who pay the fees for proper disposal, and it often leaves the community or landholders paying for the clean up,” Mr Webb said.
“There are fly-by-night skip bin operators who will give you a very cheap price, then abandon your renovation waste in the bush, on private land or in a rented warehouse,” he said.
“The landholder, your local Council, or even you, might be the one left with the clean-up cost, and unlike the skip bin, it won’t be cheap.”
Typical materials dumped illegally include construction and demolition waste, hazardous materials such as asbestos, and household waste. A large percentage of those materials should have been recycled instead of winding up in a local creek or park.
“The fine for illegal dumping can be thousands of dollars, and then comes the cost of the clean-up and proper disposal,” Mr Webb said.
Anyone hiring a skip bin should ask questions. If the price seems suspiciously cheap in comparison to other quotes, it may mean the real cost is being dumped on the community and attracting possible prosecution.
EPA also encourages the community to watch out for suspicious activities - such as unusual truck movements at night, commercial properties or warehouses collecting piles of waste, or very cheap offers of waste removal - and to report it to EPA.
During the past two years, EPA has undertaken nearly 350 illegal dumping related inspections, issued more than 170 legal notices requiring a clean up, conducted prosecutions through the courts and issued Infringement Notices that represent a fine of nearly $8000 each.
The growth areas of Melbourne, such as the Cities of Hume, Brimbank, Wyndham and Manningham are the hotspots in the metropolitan area, and EPA is working with local Councils there and wherever illegal dumping occurs.
Illegal dumping is also a problem in regional areas such as Bendigo, Mildura, Ararat and Geelong where dumping commonly occurs on farmland or on public land such as state or national parks.
Anyone with information about illegal dumping is encouraged to report it to EPA by calling 1300 EPA VIC (1300 372 842) or via the website www.epa.vic.gov.au