Shire fined over land­fill smell af­ter public tip-off

McIvor Times - - NEWS -

AF­TER com­plaints from the public about the smell of its land­fill, Mitchell Shire Coun­cil has re­ceived a fine.

En­vi­ron­ment Pro­tec­tion Au­thor­ity Vic­to­ria north east man­ager Emma Knights said the au­thor­ity used an aerial drone to in­spect the Hilldene land­fill af­ter re­ceiv­ing com­mu­nity com­plaints about the odour.

“Two drone flights in May and July 2017 re­vealed the contents of the land­fill had not been suf­fi­ciently cov­ered at the end of each day’s oper­a­tions,” Ms Knights said.

“EPA-is­sued land­fill li­cences re­quire waste to be cov­ered to min­imise odour, lit­ter, fire, con­tam­i­na­tion of storm wa­ter or the spread of dis­ease through birds, flies, mos­qui­toes and ro­dents.

“The coun­cil’s li­cence for this land­fill re­quires that all waste be cov­ered with a layer of soil at the end of each day. The layer must be be­tween 15 and 30cm thick de­pend­ing on the type of waste.

‘‘Pic­tures from the aerial drone showed un­cov­ered waste, which was a con­tra­ven­tion of the land­fill li­cence.”

EPA has is­sued the Mitchell Shire Coun­cil with a fine of $7929 for breach­ing the con­di­tions of its li­cence to op­er­ate the land­fill.

The coun­cil has as­sured EPA that the in­ci­dent was an iso­lated oc­cur­rence, and that waste has been cov­ered prop­erly each day since then.

“Breaches of the en­vi­ron­ment pro­tec­tion act are se­ri­ous mat­ters. Any­one who breaches li­cence con­di­tions un­der the act can po­ten­tially face a fine of more than $300,000 if pros­e­cuted be­fore the courts,” Ms Knights said.

“This case is a re­minder of the value of re­ports from mem­bers of the public in pro­tect­ing the en­vi­ron­ment. Res­i­dents re­ported their ob­ser­va­tions and EPA in­ves­ti­gated.’’

Un­der the en­vi­ron­ment pro­tec­tion act 1970 and the in­fringe­ments act 2008, the Mitchell Shire Coun­cil has the right to have the de­ci­sion re­viewed or al­ter­na­tively to have the mat­ter heard by a court.

EPA en­cour­ages the com­mu­nity to re­port pol­lu­tion to its 24-hour hot­line on 1300 372 842 or by vis­it­ing www.epa.vic.gov.au.

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