Landfill fines tip $16k

Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) has fined Mildura Rural City Council $16,120 for two licence breaches at the Mildura Landfill.

On April 9, 2019 EPA officers conducted a compliance inspection at the Mildura Landfill and observed uncovered waste at the landfill, which was not on the active tipping face.

The tipping face of a landfill is the active area where trucks are unloading waste onto the pile.

EPA North West Manager Dr Scott Pigdon said it was a licence condition of the landfill to have daily cover on all waste as it minimises both odour and litter issues.

On April 14, 2019 EPA officers were notified of a fire in a mulch stockpile at the landfill. Dr Pigdon said it was a licence condition of the landfill that waste not be burnt.

Dr Pigdon said the small fire was quickly extinguished by council staff.

“Any fire at a landfill has the potential to have a negative impact on the surrounding community,” he said.

“While this one was able to be contained, if it had spread to an area of mixed waste the smoke may have become toxic and harmful to human health.”

Dr Pigdon said EPA was working with Mildura council and had recently carried out additional routine inspections at the site, including through drone surveillance, to ensure compliance with their licence conditions.

“Licence conditions are created to minimise the risks to environmental and public health and address areas such as air and water discharges, odour and litter,” he said.

“EPA expects all licence holders to have systems, process and controls in place to ensure their operations remain compliant and have minimal impact on their local area.

“We know it is all too easy for loose items to be blown off landfills in the wind, which is why operators need to be vigilant on covering the non-active tipping areas. The loose rubbish causes unsightly litter that has the potential to enter, and clog, the stormwater system.”

Dr Pigdon encouraged people to report suspected pollution to EPA’s 24-hour hotline 1300 EPA VIC (1300 372 842).

Under the Environment Protection Act 1970 and the Infringements Act 2008, Mildura Rural City Council has the right to have the fines reviewed or have the matter determined by a court.

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