EPA fines Sharry Pty Ltd for illegal transport & disposal of asbestos waste

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has fined Sharry Pty Ltd (Sharry) $15,000 for the unlawful transportation and disposal of asbestos contaminated waste at a property at Avondale in the Illawarra, and issued the property development company with an Official Caution for three related offences.

Acting on reports from a member of the public concerned about activities at the property, the EPA investigations found that soil and building and demolition waste, contaminated with asbestos, had been taken to the property and placed in a waterway for the purpose of constructing a dam.

EPA Regional Manager of Waste Compliance Cate Woods said the EPA has reinforced to Sharry the human and environmental health risks associated with the unlawful disposal of asbestos contaminated waste.

“It is simply unacceptable to put the community and the environment at risk with careless waste practices. Asbestos will remain a persistent risk in our community if proper disposal is not undertaken,” Ms Woods said.

“In this case, not only was asbestos waste mishandled, but local waterways were put at risk of pollution. No controls or approvals were in place to ensure that those waters were protected.

“The EPA issued Sharry with a Clean-up Notice to remove the waste to a lawful facility, and undertake remediation of the impacted area. After additional directions were needed to make sure Sharry complied with the orders, they have now completed the required environmental works.

“The community has played an important role in reporting this incident to the EPA and I encourage everyone to report any unlawful waste activity to the EPA’s Environment Line on 131 555 as soon as possible.”

Penalty notices are just one of a number of tools the EPA can use to achieve compliance with the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997. Others include investigation, prevention and clean up notices; official cautions; and prosecutions.

The EPA takes a range of factors into account before delivering a proportionate regulatory response, including the degree of environmental harm, whether or not there are any real or potential health impacts, if the action of the offender was deliberate, compliance history, public interest and best environmental outcomes.

For more information, see the EPA Compliance Policy www.epa.nsw.gov.au/legislation/prosguid.htm.