Landfill dust attracts an EPA fine

Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) has fined a Bulla company more than $8,000 for breaching its EPA licence by failing to do enough to reduce the potential for dust to blow off its landfill site.

EPA Northern Metropolitan Manager Jeremy Settle said EPA officers discovered the dust problem when they attended the landfill facility in response to reports of a small fire.

“The fire was quickly resolved, but EPA officers saw significant amounts of dust rising from onsite haul roads and a large, exposed stockpile of soil on top of one of the landfill cells, with inadequate controls to prevent dust from leaving the site,” Mr Settle said.

“The position of the soil stockpile made it highly vulnerable to wind, and the fact that there had been no attempt to cover it with materials such as mulch or geofabric, meant the company had failed to comply with a condition in their licence which required effective control of dust,” he said.

EPA has issued Australian Recycling Corporation Pty Ltd with an $8,261 fine and official notices requiring dust controls at the premises.

“Even though the landfill is not currently accepting waste, dust can still have impacts on health when inhaled and is clearly a nuisance to people living or using roads nearby,” Mr Settle said.

“While the company had a water cart to aid in dust suppression, the position and sheer size of the exposed soil stockpile meant that this type of control was inadequate on its own,” he said.

“EPA licences come with enforceable conditions designed to protect the environment and people’s health, and licence holders must take those conditions seriously,” Mr Settle said.

Members of the public can report pollution via EPA’s 24-hour hotline, 1300 EPA VIC (1300 372 842) or the EPA website www.epa.vic.gov.au

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

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 July 2021, that will give it a stronger focus on prevention and substantially increase potential penalties.

The legislation introduces a criminally enforceable General Environmental Duty (GED), a responsibility for anyone whose activities may involve pollution to take reasonable steps to eliminate risk to human health and the environment.

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