Tip operator convicted over illegal dumping

THE business that formerly operated Wellington Shire Council’s Kilmany landfill has been convicted and fined for illegally dumping industrial waste.

Two directors, a former general manager, a truck driver and the Gippsland-based business were convicted and fined a total of $100,000 following an Environment Protection Authority Victoria investigation.

Gippsland Waste Services Pty Ltd, now known as Sort Worx Pty Ltd, was fined $30,000 after being found guilty in the Latrobe Valley Magistrates’ Court on December 15 to three counts of unlawfully depositing industrial waste at Bairnsdale and Cann River Landfills in August and October 2012 respectively.

Company directors Joseph Agostino of Maribynong and Rodney Young of Hazelwood North, and former general manager Greg Petrie of Wantirna were each fined $20,000. Truck driver Ross Handley of Warragul was fined $10,000.

GWS and the four men were also ordered to pay $10,000 each in court costs.

The court heard EPA commenced an investigation in October 2012 following reports GWS was illegally dumping tyres at the Cann River Landfill.

EPA officers subsequently investigated allegations that industrial waste was also being illegally dumped outside business hours to avoid paying the required landfill levy at the Bairnsdale and Kilmany landfills.

At the time, GWS was subcontracted by East Gippsland and Wellington shire councils to operate the landfills.

EPA acting chief executive Damian Wells said the action against GWS demonstrated EPA’s focus on the illegal dumping of industrial waste and the seriousness the court placed on such offences.

“There are clear rules and requirements for the disposal of industrial waste in Victoria. Breaching these rules is a criminal offence,” he said.

“In cases where waste cannot be reused or recycled, waste producers and transporters must dispose of their waste at a licensed landfill and pay the Victorian landfill levy.”

Mr Wells acknowledged the assistance of Victoria Police, and East Gippsland and Wellington shire councils in prosecuting the matter.

“Today’s result is a good example of how EPA is working with law enforcement agencies such as Victoria Police and local government to gather and share intelligence.”