A Mickleham man has been fined $5,000 after pleading guilty to storing industrial waste and permitting it to be burnt on a residential property close to a new housing estate.


EPA Victoria told the Broadmeadows Magistrates’ Court that Mokhtar Chebbo was renting the 27-hectare property on Mt Ridley Rd, Mickleham, when he accumulated more than 4,000 cubic metres of industrial waste.


EPA officers found evidence that industrial waste including asbestos was being burnt on the property.


Working with the Hume City Council, EPA conducted regular inspections and ordered the accused man to clean up the waste and take it to facilities that were licensed to accept it.


He had several years to clean up the mess, but in late 2021 there was still nearly 3,000 cubic metres of industrial waste on the property.


EPA officers used an aerial drone to survey the waste.  They told the court they found piles of timber, tyres, plastics, piping, bricks, paint tins, concrete, green waste, furniture, household rubbish and cars.


They also found approximately 20 large stockpiles of wooden beams and demolition waste. 


In May 2021, EPA issued Chebbo with an official order to stop accepting or burning waste at the property and remove it to licensed facilities for recycling or disposal.


Regular inspections over several months showed there were still thousands of cubic metres of industrial waste on the property.


Another inspection on 23 August 2023 found more evidence that industrial waste was being burnt. It included construction waste and material that appeared to be asbestos. 


EPA Victoria Executive Director of Operations, Mark Rossiter, said the accused man had been given the opportunity to clean up the mess.


“This is a rented, residential property that is not licensed to receive waste of any kind. To make matters worse it is close to a new housing estate,” Mr Rossiter said.


“It became the dumping ground for thousands of tonnes of industrial waste, and some of that waste was burned,” he said. 


“The clear message in this case is that EPA and the community do not tolerate this kind of pollution and it only took one phone call from a member of the public to alert the authorities.” 


Members of the public can report pollution by calling EPA’s 24-hour hotline on 1300 372 842 or providing details online at epa.vic.gov.au/report-pollution/reporting-pollution


Reviewed 31 August 2023