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What is illegal dumping?
Illegal dumping is leaving waste on private or public land that is not licensed to accept such waste. Unlike littering, illegal dumping can involve significant quantities of waste.
It is a crime to illegally dump, bury, burn or dilute industrial waste (including hazardous waste known as prescribed industrial waste).
These activities threaten our environment and pose a risk to human health and local amenities. They also financially undermine legitimate businesses and Victoria’s waste management and resource recovery system.
EPA’s Illegal Dumping Strikeforce program
The Victorian Government has committed $6.3 million over three years (2015–18) to support EPA’s Illegal Dumping Strikeforce program. This gives EPA the resources and mandate to reduce the risks to the environment from illegal waste management and to create a more level playing field.
Our priority areas
The program has identified a number of priority illegal waste disposal issues to tackle. In 2016–17, the Strikeforce program is focused on four priority areas:
- construction and demolition generators
- illegal dumping by skip bin operators
- transport of prescribed industrial waste
- stockpiling of waste tyres.
EPA identifies key partners in priority projects – such as government (including co-regulators in Victoria and interstate), industry and community stakeholders – to support interventions that encourage appropriate waste management.
In 2015–16, we began a new compliance program with VicRoads to ensure vehicles transporting prescribed industrial waste (PIW) comply with waste transport laws.
We are also partnering with the Victorian Building Authority, WorkSafe, Consumer Affairs Victoria and Energy Safe Victoria to support and educate Victoria’ construction and demolition sector on the appropriate management of industrial waste.
Local councils and other land managers (including Parks Victoria and VicRoads) assist EPA in the cleanup and enforcement of small and medium-scale dumping issues, such as dumping of furniture and mattresses on kerbsides or reserves.
EPA is continually working to better understand the nature and scale of illegal dumping across Victoria and the motivations (economic, social and institutional) for this behaviour. This research helps us develop and implement strategies that deal with the root causes of illegal dumping.
We are developing intelligence-led projects to improve our understanding of illegal dumping behaviour and accurately measure and track illegal dumping across Victoria.
Compliance and enforcement
EPA uses a broad range of compliance and enforcement tools to detect, investigate and prosecute illegal dumping offences.
During 2015–16 EPA completed 233 illegal dumping inspections across Victoria. These inspections looked particularly at waste tyre storage sites, construction and demolition waste, and the transport of prescribed industrial waste.
The inspections resulted in 98 remedial notices being issued across the state, 24 penalty infringement notices (fines) and nine parties being prosecuted.
In December 2016, EPA launched an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) program to support EPA’s illegal dumping surveillance and investigations. This program increases EPA’s ability to detect illegal dumping in remote and difficult-to-reach locations and to prosecute offenders.
Communication and engagement
Providing guidance for waste producers, transporters and receivers on how to manage industrial waste safely and responsibly is an important focus for EPA’s Illegal Dumping Strikeforce program.
In August 2016, the Victorian Waste Education Strategy was released. Led by Sustainability Victoria, the strategy aims to provide a consistent and coordinated approach to waste and resource recovery education over the next 10 years. Strategic direction 4 of the strategy details EPA activities focused on reducing the illegal dumping of industrial waste.
In 2015–16, EPA created Super PIW Bros, an animation that highlights the legal requirements for transporting prescribed industrial waste.
How you can help
Illegal dumping is an environmental crime. As well as potentially causing serious pollution, illegal dumping also poses a risk to human health and impacts local amenities. Cleaning up illegal dumping comes at a significant cost to local communities, councils and land managers.
Industry representatives and community members play an important role in helping EPA identify and respond to the illegal dumping of commercial, industrial or large scale waste.
EPA receives approximately 12,000 community pollution reports each year. Reports of illegal dumping and illegal waste management practices are triaged and actioned by EPA officers.
To report suspected illegal dumping, call 1300 372 842 (1300 EPA VIC) or complete EPA’s confidential illegal dumping intelligence form.