EPA boss quits over red lid bins strife

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - THE SNITCH - LINDA SILMALIS

THE head of the State’s en­vi­ron­men­tal watch­dog has quit in the fall­out of the or­ganic waste scan­dal where rub­bish, in­clud­ing dis­pos­able nap­pies, plas­tic and glass from red lid bins, was be­ing used as “soil amend­ment” across the State.

Less than a year af­ter En­vi­ron­ment Pro­tec­tion Agency chief ex­ec­u­tive Barry Buffier re­signed fol­low­ing is­sues with the con­tainer de­posit scheme, the or­gan­i­sa­tion has lost Anissa Levy, who had been act­ing in his po­si­tion.

Ms Levy’s res­ig­na­tion fol­lows En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Gabrielle Up­ton slam­ming the agency last week for with­hold­ing a re­port on the now-sus­pended waste re-use scheme.

The prac­tice of us­ing treated house­hold waste as soil amend­ment be­gan 20 years ago to re­duce land­fill while im­prov­ing soil qual­ity.

But in an in­ter­nal EPA re­port, it was found the waste had “lim­ited agri­cul­tural ben­e­fits”. The seven-year study also found there were po­ten­tial risks from some con­tam­i­nants from the waste, which in­cluded dis­pos­able nap­pies, plas­tic and glass.

While re­as­sur­ing NSW that there was no hu­man health risk, Ms Up­ton said the EPA showed “very poor judg­ment” af­ter the re­port was fi­nalised in April but she only found out about it in Septem­ber.

The agency said Ms Levy would be re­turn­ing to her old po­si­tion of deputy chief ex­ec­u­tive of In­fra­struc­ture NSW.

EPA Chief En­vi­ron­men­tal Reg­u­la­tor Mark Gif­ford will act in the po­si­tion un­til a new boss is found.

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