Dump­ing dol­lars

Hills Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - Lynn Gri­er­son

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.

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