Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) has fined an Altona North company more than $8,000 over the dumping of construction and demolition waste that included asbestos, beside Wests Road, Werribee.
EPA Regional Manager for the Metropolitan Region, Jeremy Settle, says the truckload of waste was dumped on the roadside reserve only 500 metres from the Wyndham Landfill, in November last year.
“EPA has issued demolition contractor MASA Group Pty Ltd with a $8,060 fine for permitting the depositing of industrial waste in contravention of Section 27A(2)(a) of the Environment Protection Act 1970,” Mr Settle said.
“Wyndham City Council has an EPA Officer for the Protection of the Local Environment (OPLE) working from its offices, so when the size and nature of the dumped load was discovered it became a joint investigation,” he said.
“We were able to trace the origin of some of the materials left at the dump site, and made use of CCTV video from the nearby Wyndham landfill.”
“The video showed a suspect truck driving past the landfill in the direction of the illegal dump site, late on the day before the dumped material was discovered,” Mr Settle said
The investigation followed the trail through several companies and contractors, to the demolition contractor. The waste had come from the demolition of a house at South Kingsville.
Wyndham City Director of City Operations, Stephen Thorpe, says dumping of rubbish is never acceptable, especially in situations like this.
“At Wyndham City, we are doing all we can to put an end to illegal rubbish dumping. We work hard to educate our community on the consequences of littering and dumping, but at times, we also need to prosecute,” Mr Thorpe said.
“This case sends a strong message that illegal dumping will never be tolerated, and there are very real consequences for doing so.”
EPA’s Jeremy Settle says the message is clear, you are responsible for the waste you generate.
“Even if you have hired someone else to get rid of it, make sure you have the proper documentation to prove it went to a licensed landfill or recycling facility,” Mr Settle said.
“This was a deliberate and wilful act of illegal dumping, and laboratory testing of materials found at the dump site showed the load contained asbestos,” he said.
The fine is more than three times the amount it would have cost to take the waste to a licensed landfill, and the company had to remove the waste for proper disposal at its own expense, under an official order from EPA.
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/newlaws
Members of the public can report illegal dumping and other types of pollution by calling EPA’s 24 hour hotline on 1300 EPA VIC (1300 372 842).