The operator of a skip bin hire business has been fined $10,000, with costs of another $9,000, over the illegal dumping of construction and demolition waste on rented land at Corio.
The Geelong Magistrates’ Court convicted Ibrahim Ali Ibrahim of Mernda over the illegal dumping and his failure to comply with a notice from Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) that required him to remove the waste.
The court also ordered him to clean up the site and pay EPA’s legal costs of $9,000.
The court was told Ibrahim ran his business from the rented land at 320 Bacchus Marsh Rd, Corio, renting out skip bins to builders and landscapers and dumping the waste on the property. He also permitted customers to use their own trucks to dump construction and demolition waste there.
The site was not licensed to receive it, but EPA investigators found at least 950 cubic metres of industrial waste had been dumped there.
The industrial waste was deposited in stockpiles of various sizes, the largest was 27 metres across and up to 2 metres high.
The court was told EPA had issued the defendant with an official notice, ordering that “you must remove all industrial waste from the southern third of the premises. This waste must be taken to facilities with either an EPA licence or local government permit to receive those wastes.”
The notice gave a deadline of 30 June 2017; but when EPA officers inspected the site three weeks after the deadline, the waste was still there. EPA used an aerial drone to survey the site and calculated that there was more than 780 cubic metres of waste at the premises.
The court convicted Ibrahim and ordered him to remove all industrial waste from the premises, take it to facilities with government-issued environmental approval to receive those wastes, and provide proof to EPA that he had complied with the order.
The owner of the rented property gave the court a Victim Impact Statement. He has been assisting Mr Ibrahim to clean up the site, which they estimate is now 20% clean.
EPA Executive Director Michelle Edge says illegal dumping represents a range of hazards for the community.
“Illegally dumped waste can contain all manner of unknown contaminants; it is not just an eyesore, it potentially threatens contamination of the soil and nearby waterways,” Ms Edge said.
“EPA will identify those responsible for the breach and affirm that anyone undertaking illegal dumping will face potential consequences under the law,” she said.
“If you pollute, you pay, and that can mean heavy fines, legal costs and the cost of the clean-up, which is often even more than the official penalties.”
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).