$590,000 financial undertaking secured after asbestos find

Veolia has permanently shut down landfill at its Horsley Park Waste Management Facility and must pay more than half a million dollars as part of a voluntary legally binding agreement, after the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) found fragments of asbestos scattered across the top of the landfill, on roads and in soil stockpiles.

The asbestos fragments were the result of the operators using non-compliant material, which included asbestos waste, as cover from 2017 to 2021. The closure plan for the site is already underway with the asbestos covered with soil and grass on top to seal it below ground.    

NSW EPA Executive Director Regulatory Operations, Steve Beaman said Veolia’s actions were unacceptable. 

“We expect better quality control from waste operators. There is no excuse for putting their workers and those who regularly attend this landfill in harm’s way by not ensuring the cover material they use was safe,” Mr Beaman said.  

Following an investigation into this issue, the EPA accepted an enforceable undertaking with Veolia. They have  agreed to pay $590,000, with $70,000 for compliance training for its personnel, while the rest will go to fund specific environmental projects by Western Sydney Parklands Trust and pay EPA costs.  

Mr Beaman said this agreement means the EPA will regularly receive reports about the progress of the clean-up and shut down process.    

“The role of the EPA has always been to get the best outcome for the community and environment,” Mr Beaman said.  

“By coming to this agreement with Veolia, the company’s personnel will be better trained – so this doesn’t happen again. 

“A dangerous situation will be made safe and we will have a substantial investment in the environment of Western Sydney Parklands.”  

Enforceable undertakings are voluntary, legally binding written agreements between the EPA and a company that are enforced by the Land and Environment Court.  

People can report concerns regarding pollution and other environment incidents to the EPA on 131 555.  

For more information about the EPA’s regulatory tools, see the EPA Compliance Policy at www.epa.nsw.gov.au/legislation/prosguid.htm