The NSW Environment Protection Authority has fined demolition company Serious About Civil $15,000 for unlawfully using its West Gosford site as a waste facility.
Serious About Civil operates an excavation business and was storing waste at its site on Nells Road, West Gosford. EPA officers inspected the site on June 5 this year and, despite not having the required licence, the business had stockpiles of uncovered timber waste, mixed soils and demolition waste on the site.
Some of this timber waste was treated, which presents another level of chemical risk to the environment.
In a second inspection, the following week, EPA officers found that waste water (leachate) from the waste timber was draining out of the stockpiles and into stormwater drains.
The EPA took immediate action to address the waste on site, ordering Serious About Civil to stop receiving waste and issuing a clean-up notice that required all waste to be appropriately disposed.
EPA Acting Manager Regional Waste Compliance Steven James said while it was fortunate that the water pollution had not been more serious, the $15,000 fine should act as warning to all businesses to follow the rules when it comes to waste disposal.
“Waste materials need to be stored and disposed of appropriately to ensure the environment is not put at risk -that’s why it’s a legal requirement for any facility that stores waste on site must have relevant planning approval and, where required, an environment protection licence,” Mr James said.
“What’s disappointing about this incident is that, as a demolition business, Serious About Civil should know the rules of waste disposal inside out. Not only that, but there is a licensed waste facility directly across the road.”
Penalty notices are one of a number of tools the EPA can use to achieve environmental compliance including formal warnings, official cautions, licence conditions, notices and directions and prosecutions. For more information about the EPA’s regulatory tools, see the EPA Compliance Policy at www.epa.nsw.gov.au/legislation/prosguid.htm