The Ballarat City Council has been fined nearly $8000, after failing to have the City of Ballarat Regional Landfill’s environmental monitoring plan independently verified for three years.
Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) South West Region Manager, Carolyn Francis, says that during a routine inspection of the site on Glenelg Highway at Smythesdale, EPA Officers found that the environmental monitoring plan required under the EPA licence remained in draft form and had not been verified by an EPA-approved auditor as required by the site licence.
“EPA issued the Council with a Pollution Abatement Notice requiring that the plan be updated and verified by the end of August, which was extended to mid-December 2017 on application by the Council ,” Ms Francis said.
Information was received from the Council by the due date but it was not in compliance with the notice requirement as it did not provide full auditor verification of the monitoring program.
“There is no excuse for a large regional council with a responsibility to the community and their impact to the environment to fail to comply with an EPA notice,” she said.
“The Council had the options of having the independent verification done within the required timeframe or seeking an additional extension if there were unexpected problems – they did neither.”
”The environmental monitoring plan is a part of making sure the landfill operates in a way that minimises impacts to the community and the environment, independent endorsement makes sure the plan is up to the job, and the Pollution Abatement Notice is a legally enforceable instruction with a deadline from EPA,” Ms Francis said.
The City of Ballarat provided the independent auditor’s verification of the environmental monitoring plan in early February, and the endorsed program will drive a continued improvement in City of Ballarat’s management and monitoring of the landfill operation.
Under the Environment Protection Act 1970 and the Infringements Act 2008, the Council has the right to have the decision to issue the infringement notice that imposes the fine reviewed or alternatively to have the matter heard and determined by a court.