Lismore man fined for dumping asbestos
LISMORE City Council has fined a 36-year-old Lismore man $4000 for dumping asbestos, and are sending a strong warning to anyone else thinking of illegal dumping.
Council said the man dumped 220kg of asbestos-contaminated material on Boatharbour Road and was tracked down following the thorough investigative work of a Council Compliance Officer.
Council's Manager Development & Compliance Peter Jeuken said the material had to be removed by a licensed asbestos contractor and would only have cost the man approximately $120 to dispose of legally as a result of EPA subsidies.
"People are trying to avoid paying quite reasonable fees, only to be lumped with a large fine, and in the meantime they are putting people and the environment at risk," Mr Jeuken said.
"The material samples taken at this particular dump site were sent for analysis and tested positive to two types of asbestos.
"This stuff has the potential to kill people. It is unbelievable that some people think they can simply take hazardous waste into rural areas, dump it and there will be no consequence.
"Illegal dumping is a crime that places the health and wellbeing of other people at risk and significantly impacts the health of our environment. That's why we are making a concerted effort to crack down on illegal dumping."
The fine follows on from a $50,000 court penalty imposed on a Ballina-based construction company that Council found dumping large quantities of waste material including asbestos at Woodlawn.
In the next six months, Council will be installing a minimum of seven surveillance cameras in known dumping hotspots throughout the Lismore Local Government Area to try and weed out offenders.
Environmental Compliance Officers recently underwent training with the NSW EPA in the operation of the cameras as part of the Illegal Dumping Prevention Project being managed across the region by NE Waste.
Cameras have been used successfully in other regional areas across NSW to gather evidence and catch illegal dumpers.
"The chances of dumpers getting caught are steadily increasing as a result of ongoing staff training and improvements in our investigation techniques," Mr Jeuken said.
"Lismore City Council spends in the excess of $100,000 per year cleaning up dumped waste from riverbanks, reserves, roadsides and parks.
"This is money that could be better spent in other areas of Council operations to improve services and amenity."
NSW dumping fines for non-hazardous waste offences are $2000 for individuals and $4000 for corporations. Hazardous waste including asbestos fines are $4000 for individuals and $8000 for corporations.
Dumpers are also required to clean up dumped materials or pay for clean-up costs.
Illegal dumping can be reported online at www.illegaldumping.com.au or phone Council on 1300 87 83 87.