Council fined by EPA over blown litter

ENVIRONMENT Protection Authority Victoria has fined Wellington Shire Council more than $7500 for breaching a condition of a pollution abatement notice at the Kilmany Resource Recovery Centre.

EPA Gippsland manager Stephen Lansdell said EPA launched an investigation following pollution reports from the public alleging litter was leaving the landfill premises and affecting the local environment.

"Once onsite EPA officers found areas of the landfill with piles of exposed waste that should have had at least 30 centimetres of soil cover to prevent the litter being blown about by the elements and leaving the property," he said.

"Under its EPA licence, the company is required to cover over any exposed waste at the end of each operational day. In this case the waste has clearly not been covered and was exposed."

Mr Lansdell said following the inspection, EPA issued the council with a notice that required it to ensure exposed waste was covered to comply with its EPA licence conditions.

"A return inspection by EPA officers found further evidence of exposed waste at the site, which is a failure by the council to comply with the requirements of the EPA notice. This is why EPA has fined the Wellington Shire Council more than $7500," Mr Lansdell said.

"This breach was avoidable; Wellington Shire Council is well aware of its licence conditions, and in this case correct management and monitoring of the exposed litter would have avoided the fine for failing to cover exposed waste," he said.

Wellington Shire Council's acting built and natural environment manager Dean Morahan confirmed the infringement notice had been received, and said the council was disappointed with the fine.

"Council is currently constructing a new landfill cell adjacent to the old tipping face and constructing an earthen cap over the old site. Part of this process is that at the end of each day, waste in the landfill must be fully covered by earth and in the new works area this was not done satisfactorily. Council will now work with its contractor and the EPA to ensure that this does not recur," he said.

"Given Council's strong record of compliance with EPA conditions, we are disappointed that the EPA have chosen to issue Council with a fine in this instance, rather than choose to issue a warning."