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EPA fines company over dust issue

Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) has fined Bulla-based Australian Recycling Corporation 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.

This comes on the back of the Victorian EPA’s zero tolerance approach to waste crime announced near the end of last year with the injection of more than $70 million in funding and 70 new officers employed in its new Waste Crime Prevention Inspectorate.

“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,” said EPA Northern Metropolitan manager Jeremy Settle

The issue was discovered when EPA officers attended the landfill facility in response to reports of a small fire.

“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.

The Australian Recycling Corporation Pty Ltd was fined a total of $8,261 with the added  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,” 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.”

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