EPA targets illegal waste transporters

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has joined forces with police, the ACT Government and local councils today, targeting rogue operators supplying waste soil from construction sites marketed as “clean fill” to unsuspecting property owners.

NSW EPA Senior Officer Janine Goodwin said the coordinated crackdown included compliance and road side checks to ensure that fill is going to a site that has council approval to accept it.

“Targeting these operators during transportation will help stop contaminated and other non-compliant material from being dumped illegally or passed off as clean fill to innocent land owners.

“Accepting large amounts of fill can create potential dust issues and pollute waterways.  In the worst cases, some operators are providing unsuspecting residents with soil – cheaply or for free – only for the resident to find it’s contaminated with building and demolition waste, heavy metals or even asbestos.

“Councils require landholders to apply for development approval to bring larger volumes of fill onto private property.  If a property is used to accept this material without proper council approval, both the landholder, the owner of the waste and the transport contractor may be fined and the landholder may discover they have to pay to have the material removed. 

“We have been checking things like documentation to make sure the waste is correctly classified and going to a site that has consent to accept it,” Ms Goodwin said.

“Waste being transported between the ACT and NSW needs approval. Transporters and builders are on notice that the illegal transport and disposal of waste will not be tolerated in the ACT region, and large penalties apply,” Narelle Sargent, of the ACT EPA said.

The Manager of Waste Regulation at ACT NoWaste, Alex Taylor, has advised that any movements of waste (including waste soil) into, out of or within the ACT can only be undertaken by businesses which are registered waste transporters under the Waste Management and Resource Recovery Act (Act) 2016. Penalties apply to businesses transporting waste without a registration under the Act.

If you suspect someone is doing the wrong thing, phone the NSW EPA on 131 555 or Access Canberra on 132 281. Further information can be found at the NSW EPA’s website www.epa.nsw.gov.au or Access Canberra’s website www.accesscanberra.act.gov.au