A local company has received a $5,548 fine from EPA Victoria for burning waste that sent smoke drifting off its South Geelong worksite.

EPA officers fined Salvage Centre Demolition Pty Ltd after finding burning timber waste in a metal barrel at the site on Gravel Pits Road.

EPA Southwest Regional Manager Carolyn Francis says that while disposing of timber waste by burning is a breach of the Environment Protection Act 2017, there was evidence nearby that the company had previously been burning other kinds of waste.

“An employee told EPA officers he was feeding the fire with timber from a stockpile of waste that was approximately 30m square and 2 metres deep. The stockpile contained treated timber which gives off chemical smoke when burned, as well as plaster, PVC pipe, nails, insulation, mesh, glass and wire, none of which should be burned,” Ms Francis said.

Everyone has a responsibility under Victoria’s General Environmental Duty to take reasonable actions to prevent pollution, and any business with a licence or permit from EPA has a list of specific conditions it must meet.

“The EPA website has plenty of advice on the proper disposal of different types of waste; some can be recycled, some goes to landfill, and some types require specialist disposal for the protection of the community and the environment,” Ms Francis said.

“It’s important that treated timber and other industrial waste isn’t burned as it releases toxins into the air, which is a health issue for neighbours and employees,” she said.

Under the Environment Protection Act 2017 and the Infringements Act 2006, the operator has the right to have the infringement notice reviewed or be considered by a court.

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 5 January 2023