A shipment of hospital waste that had been exposed to toxic chemicals has been secured and sent for proper disposal during an investigation by Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA).

EPA Western Metropolitan Regional Manager, Stephen Lansdell, says the waste was found at a container depot in Altona.

“EPA officers found two shipping containers that had been sitting for more than two weeks at the premises of Melbourne Container Transport Pty Ltd, in Kororoit Creek Rd,” Mr Lansdell said.

“Inside, they found plastic-wrapped pallet loads of cardboard boxes and plastic containers carrying surgical masks, gowns, gloves and other items used by doctors when applying cytotoxic chemicals used in some cancer treatments,” he said.

“EPA has fined the company $8,261 for depositing industrial waste at a site that is not licensed to accept that type of waste.”

The contents of the containers were safely incinerated by a licensed company on the day they were opened for inspection.

“While it was resolved without any hazard to people’s health, a case like this is disappointing because businesses have a clear responsibility to know the rules and do the right thing by the environment and the community,” Mr Lansdell said.

Under the Environment Protection Act 1970 and the Infringements Act 2006, the company has the right to have the decision to issue the infringement notice reviewed or alternatively to have the matter heard and determined by a court.

Victoria’s new environment laws take effect on 1 July 2020 and introduce a general environmental duty requiring businesses and individuals to prevent harm to the environment and human health. Learn more on EPA’s website at www.epa.vic.gov.au/about-epa/laws/new-laws

Members of the public can report pollution by calling EPA’s 24 hour hotline on 1300 EPA VIC (1300 372 842).

Reviewed 10 February 2020