Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) has fined a Lara recycling company almost $8000 for permitting construction and demolition waste to be deposited in an area of its premises not permitted to be used for waste storage.
EPA South West Manager Carolyn Francis said C&D Recycling Pty Ltd had allowed customers to deposit waste that included timber, plastics, metal polystyrene and plasterboard at an unpermitted section of its Broderick Road site.
“This is an offence under the Environment Protection Act 1970, which is why EPA has issued C&D Recycling with a fine of $7929,” Ms Francis said.
In November 2017, EPA issued C&D Recycling with a notice that required it to immediately cease accepting waste outside of the area allowed under its City of Greater Geelong planning permit, and to remove all waste from this part of its premises.
“This notice was not fully complied with and, as at 7 December 2017, about 5000m3 of waste remained outside the area allowed under the company’s planning permit; EPA is pursuing further enforcement action over that breach,” Ms Francis said.
Ms Francis said that while the fine relates to only a small portion of the premises, EPA remains concerned that inappropriate stockpiling of waste at the site presents an unacceptable fire risk.
“EPA, Country Fire Authority (CFA) and City of Greater Geelong Council have been working together for some time to ensure the Lara site has effective fire prevention and control arrangements. This fine is just one step in that process,” Ms Francis said.
“EPA has been very clear with the duty holder on how this site needs to be managed, and will continue to work with council and others to ensure the duty holder meets its obligations.”
Ms Francis said Council was currently taking the duty holder to VCAT to enforce the site’s planning permit and EPA was supporting this process.
“VCAT has subsequently issued interim enforcement orders requiring that the duty holder immediately cease accepting any kind of waste at the premises,” Ms Francis said.
“EPA had also issued the site with a statutory notice that required it to cease accepting waste until it can display that it can be compliant with the Victorian Government’s interim Waste Management Policy* that was introduced in the wake of the Coolaroo fire in Melbourne,” Ms Francis said.
“Unfortunately, the duty holder has appealed this notice to VCAT which means that we need to wait until VCAT makes a determination before the requirements come into effect. EPA will continue to work with council and others to ensure the duty holder acts to reduce the fire risk posed by the site.”
In the past, this type of premises has not been subject to EPA’s direct oversight as it is not a scheduled premise that requires EPA approval or licensing. However, EPA has supported Council through the planning permit process as a referral authority.
Following a fire at an SKM recycling plant in Coolaroo, a joint Government taskforce was set up to target key resource recovery sites that require extra management measures to ensure community safety.
The taskforce comprises EPA, Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB), Country Fire Authority (CFA), Emergency Management Victoria (EMV) and Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.
To assist the taskforce, the Victorian Government has strengthened the EPA by establishing an interim Waste Management Policy to improve safety standards at waste and resource recovery facilities.
To date, the taskforce has conducted 88 inspections of 73 sites and issued 37 statutory notices.