EPA investigation actions and role

Actions we are taking

To mitigate risks to human health, we have issued a Clean Up Notice to Transport for NSW (TfNSW) for the removal of all mulch in the Rozelle Parklands and surrounds by 28 March.

We have issued a Prevention Notice to a supplier of the mulch to ensure this product cannot be produced or sold while our investigation is continuing. This was followed up by the issue of a Clean-Up Notice, directing that supplier to notify all customers who received the identified mulch.

VE Resource Recovery Pty Ltd is now contesting the Prevention Notice in the Land and Environment Court.

We have also issued three additional Clean-up Notices to Sydney Metro and TfNSW to undertake a detailed site investigation of the Sydenham to Bankstown rail corridorNowra Bridge Project and Prospect Highway Upgrade and make the sites safe for their use.

We have completed the supply chain investigation to trace mulch linked to the asbestos contamination originally discovered at the Rozelle Parklands.

The EPA's role in preventing asbestos contamination in mulch/resource recovery products

Recycled mulch must not contain asbestos or any material likely to cause pollution. We regularly audit producers and suppliers of recycled mulch, and we have a zero-tolerance approach to the presence of asbestos.

The EPA conducts regular compliance audits and campaigns, which can include unannounced inspections of resource recovery facilities. 

Businesses and individuals that allow any asbestos waste to be reused or recycled face significant penalties and can be fined up to $2 million.

The Environment Protection Legislation Amendment (Stronger Regulation and Penalties) Bill 2024

The NSW Government has introduced changes to the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 (POEO Act) and other environmental laws, to strengthen penalties and the EPA’s powers to deter repeat offenders and make polluters pay. These state-wide reforms are designed to overcome emerging issues and urgent regulatory challenges. This is the first step the NSW Government is taking to ensure environmental frameworks are preventing contamination entering the community and recycling streams and enforcing deterrents to environmental crimes.