A Mernda man has been fined $25,000 for dumping chemical drums in the Dandenong Ranges National Park, after offering to dispose of them for a few hundred dollars on an online marketplace.
EPA investigated and charged Rodney Charles Hallett after Parks Victoria received pollution reports from the public, and local CFA Brigades were called in to retrieve 21 drums from steep mountain country.
The Ringwood Magistrates’ Court heard the man had collected the drums from a cleaning company in Braeside, charging the company $435 and promising to take the drums to an approved chemical waste facility.
The 21 drums included 13 that contained unknown liquids, and all of them had been dumped in steep country near Mt Dandenong Tourist Road and Churchill Road, Tremont.
When Parks Victoria called in specialist contractors to dispose of the chemical drums properly, it cost $6,699.10. The court, without recording a conviction, ordered the man to pay a fine of $25,000, to compensate Parks Victoria for the clean up and to pay EPA $6,602.69 for its legal costs.
The penalties and costs ordered by the Court totalled more than $38,000 – 88 times the amount the man had charged for the job.
Chemical drums were spotted in the Dandenong Ranges National Park on 2, 7 and 8 October 2019 by a member of the public, who reported them to Parks Victoria.
The accused was charged with 3 counts of dumping industrial waste under section 27A(2)(a) of the Environment Protection Act 1970.
Members of the public can report pollution by calling EPA’s 24 hour hotline on 1300 EPA VIC (1300 372 842) or providing details online at epa.vic.gov.au/report-pollution/reporting-pollution
Reviewed 13 December 2021