ILLEGAL dumping of household waste is costing ratepayers millions of dollars as councils foot the bill to clean up the eastern suburbs.
City of Swan chief executive Mike Foley said the council had spent close to $3 million on illegal waste disposal in the past three years.
The council’s mop-up peaked at 563 tonnes of dumped waste in 2014-15.
Mr Foley said public tip-offs about illegal dumping increased soon after the Reduce Illegal Dumping (RID) project began in August 2016. Reports of illegally dumped waste fell to 479 tonnes in 2016-17 after averaging about 517 tonnes a year.
The 13.8 per cent increase in cases reported resulted in 93 infringement notices and three cases pending court hearings.
City staff and WA Police monitor overt and covert camera surveillance systems to help catch offenders and the footage is used in prosecutions.
Mr Foley said the RID campaign encouraged people to report dumping through an online reporting system or over the phone.
“Since the RID campaign was launched, there has been a reduction in the amount of illegally dumped waste in the City and cost to the City to remove it,” he said.
“But the cost of illegally dumped waste is not just measured in tonnes or dollars,” he said.
“Illegally dumped waste can also undermine our pride and community spirit, become a community safety issue and an environmental hazard.”
The maximum penalty for illegal dumping is $62,500 for an individual and $125,000 for a business.
Mr Foley said the council managed illegal dumping of rubbish on public or private land, along with rubbish left out too early for verge collection or when no collection was due.
“Not only can this attract ‘pickers’ but it can be classified as illegal dumping,” he said. “If residents have waste they need to dispose of before bulk verge collections are due to be picked up, there are a number of options available, including using the new Bullsbrook Recycling Facility (free for residents) or one of the City’s nine recyclable goods drop-off days.”
He said the peak period for illegal dumping was in summer.
Mundaring chief executive Jonathan Throssell said general dumped waste cost the Shire $14,300 last year, but he was unable to determine the cost of additional waste added illegally to residents’ bulk verge collections.
“Where waste is dumped in bush areas, Shire of Mundaring often works with the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation to help identify offenders,” he said.
The Shire has issued one infringement in the past 12 months.
Mr Throssell said Shire residents could take bulk waste to two transfer stations or place waste on their verge during the annual bulk verge collection currently under way.
Kalamunda City is reviewing the process for capturing data on illegally dumped waste.
Chief executive Rhonda Hardy was unable to estimate the amount of illegal waste disposed of annually.
“The problem is increasing and the City has experienced an increase in the notifications it receives from the public,” she said.
Kalamunda City spends about $450,000 annually on managing illegally dumped waste and litter collection; there have been no prosecutions.
In 2016-17, the City received 35 requests to collect dumped asbestos.
“There is also an associated environmental impact, which in some instances can take months to clean up,” she said.
Dumping hot spots are most frequently in isolated areas with limited surveillance.
“Typically they are tourist carparks, no through roads, industrial areas and building sites,” she said. A verge skip bin service is available through the council.
Waste dumped in a remote area in the City of Kalamunda.