Strathbogie Shire Council has been fined more than $8,000 for breaching environmental licence conditions on the former Violet Town Landfill, in McDiarmids Road.
Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) fined the council $8,261 for failing to report problems with landfill gas and leachate at the site.
EPA Regional Manager for the North East, Renee Palmer, says the management responsibilities for a landfill continue long after it has been closed.
“Landfill gas and leachate are normal issues with any landfill, even long after it has been closed and covered, and EPA uses licensing and Post Closure Pollution Abatement Notices (PC PANs) to apply conditions that the operator must meet, for the protection of the environment and public health,” Ms Palmer said.
Landfill gas is generated as organic material in the landfill decays. Leachate is created as part of the breakdown of organic material in the landfill and when rainwater soaks through the buried waste and collects decaying organic material on the way.
“In this case, the Council failed to report to EPA that the landfill was not compliant with licence limits on those emissions,” Ms Palmer said.
“Leachate and landfill gas must be properly managed to prevent them from affecting ground or surface water and causing problems with odour. When the licence holder fails to notify EPA of a non-compliance, it hinders the Authority’s ability to require that licence holder to take action to fix the problem,” she said.
Among the conditions EPA placed on the former Violet Town Landfill are requirements for environmental monitoring and the reporting of any non-compliance with the licence limits.
Strathbogie Shire Council has now employed a Waste Management Officer, whose role includes overseeing the management of the former landfill. EPA will look to work with Council to ensure it meets its environmental obligations at the Violet Town landfill.
Under the Environment Protection Act 1970 and the Infringements Act 2006, the Council 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 groundwater contamination, odour and other types of pollution by calling EPA’s 24 hour hotline on 1300 EPA VIC (1300 372 842).