Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) has fined a Broadmeadows man nearly $2,000 for transporting prescribed industrial waste in a vehicle that did not have a permit.
EPA Manager Regulatory Programs, Dr Briony Ruse, says the permit system is an important protection for the public.
“Prescribed industrial wastes are controlled under EPA regulations because they can be hazardous to the environment or people’s health. The permit system for vehicles transporting prescribed waste applies within Victoria and interstate, and is monitored by the authorities,” Dr Ruse said.
“You can’t just load up any vehicle with prescribed waste, such as grease trap oils, contaminated soil or flammable waste. There is the risk that the vehicle is not up to the job of transporting it safely and that the waste is not destined for disposal at a premises licensed to accept it,” she said.
In this case, the Broadmeadows man had been using a van with a permit to transport Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBCs) containing residues of prescribed industrial waste, but when the load was too big, he added a trailer that had not had a current permit for 18 months.
“Any prescribed industrial waste is tracked using Waste Transport Certificates, and a comparison of those records with permits for vehicles showed there was a problem,” Dr Ruse said.
“EPA warned the operator early in March that he must apply for a vehicle permit, but more than three months went by with no application, and the Waste Transport Certificates showed the trailer had been still been used more than 20 times,” she said.
“It would be easy to argue that a vehicle that once had a permit is probably still ok, but that is not going to carry much weight if there is an accident causing a leak or a spill of wastes that could impact the health of the community and the environment”
“Operators must not cut corners with regulations that are designed to protect the environment and the community, and EPA will take action to ensure that protection,” Dr Ruse said.
The Broadmeadows man has been fined $1,934.
From 1 July 2019, paper-based waste transport certificates were no longer accepted for the transportation of prescribed industrial waste. EPA has upgraded to a system of electronic waste transport certificates that allows operators to apply online.
Under the Environment Protection Act 1970 and the Infringements Act 2006, the man 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. You can learn more on EPA’s website at www.epa.vic.gov.au/newlaws
Members of the public can report all types of pollution by calling EPA’s 24 hour hotline on 1300 EPA VIC (1300 372 842).