Litter blowing loose from a rubbish tip at Ravenhall has cost the proprietor an $8,000 fine from Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA).
EPA Metro Region Manager Daniel Hunt says the investigation was triggered by calls from members of the public to EPA’s 24 hour pollution reporting line, 1300 EPA VIC (1300 372 842).
“We received several calls, reporting that large amounts of litter was scattered beyond the boundary of the landfill at Middle Road, Ravenhall,” Mr Hunt said.
“EPA officers inspected the property and found there were numerous gaps in the litter fencing at the southern boundary, one section of the fence had collapsed and another was missing,” he said.
“Those failures had left significant amounts of wind-blown litter caught in the shrubs, trees and fencing in the paddocks beyond the southern boundary of the premises.”
That contravened the landfill operator’s licence, issued under section 27 of the Environment Protection Act, which requires the company to make sure no litter goes beyond the boundaries of the landfill premises.
EPA issued an infringement notice to the proprietor, Landfill Operations Pty Ltd, which represents a fine of $8,060.
“We have also issued legally enforceable Pollution Abatement Notices, instructing the company to repair the litter fencing, review and update its monitoring, and modify or install controls to ensure that no more litter escapes from the premises,” Mr Hunt said.
“EPA will continue to inspect the premises to ensure the company is clear about its legal obligations and carries out the actions listed in those official notices,” he said.
Under the Environment Protection Act 1970 and the Infringements Act 2008, 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.
EPA is now preparing for new legislation to take effect in 2020, that will give it a stronger focus on prevention and substantially increase potential penalties.
The legislation introduces a criminally enforceable General Environmental Duty, a responsibility for anyone whose activities may involve pollution to take reasonable steps to eliminate risk to human health and the environment.