South Australia’s Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has warned landholders and waste transporters that they can face “serious penalties” for illegally receiving or transporting waste, following the EPA’s closure of an unlicensed landfill site in the state’s Murraylands.
The EPA found more than 50,000 tonnes of commercial, industrial and demolition waste at the unlicensed site. It is currently investigating what materials have been dumped there and the transport companies involved.
“We are continuing to investigate and assess the sites, and have identified a number of waste transport companies that have been using them to dispose of waste,” South Australia’s EPA Director, Regulation Peter Dolan said.
“In the meantime, we are warning both landholders and waste transporters to be aware of their responsibilities, as both can face serious penalties.
“If you’re a landholder and you’re allowing waste transporters to dump on your property – even if you think you’re receiving fill – not only can you be left with an enormous clean-up bill, but you could also end up with serious site contamination that could destroy the value of your land.
“Likewise, if you’re a waste transporter, it’s not enough to say you didn’t know the site wasn’t licensed. If you haven’t personally sighted documentation including the EPA licence, council approval and the landowner’s consent, then you’re putting yourself and your business at risk.
“Make no mistake, we will seek criminal convictions and substantial fines for people operating unlicensed landfills, and those transporters who have brought material to these sites.”
Companies can be fined up to $250,000 for unlawful disposal of waste, while individuals can face up to two years’ imprisonment.
If the unlawful waste disposal is found to have caused serious environmental harm, this penalty increases to up to $2,000,000 for a company and up to $500,000 for an individual and/or four years’ imprisonment.