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What is illegal dumping?
There are significant penalties (24 KB PDF) for those caught illegally dumping waste. For individuals, penalties can be as high as $500,000 or four years imprisonment. For a corporate body the penalty can be as high as $2 million.
Why is illegal dumping a problem?
Illegal dumping is unsightly and puts our health and safety at risk, especially when hazardous chemicals or asbestos are involved and can harm the environment by polluting land and waters. Illegal dumping is also bad for land owners who could be breaking the law by knowingly or unknowingly allowing waste to be dumped on their property without the necessary approvals, licence or permit. Even if a land owner unwittingly allows waste to be dumped on their property it can still contaminate the land and water, and cost thousands of dollars in clean-up costs.
Illegal landfillers and recycling depots avoid the costs of engineering an appropriate landfill or depot, meaning they typically do not have proper environmental controls in place. This can lead to contamination of land and waters. Some offenders also profit from charging people to receive the waste.
Offenders conducting illegal waste activities also avoid paying disposal fees, licence fees and the waste levy, and illegal operators undermine the legitimate waste market by undercutting honest operators.
Illegally dumped waste is also expensive for government and the community to clean up.
What is the EPA doing about it?
The EPA has a dedicated team to deal with illegal dumping. The Illegal Dumping Unit (IDU) targets illegal waste activities such as illegal landfilling, dumping of hazardous wastes, commercial quantities of demolition waste, liquid waste and industrial waste, and waste businesses and transporters operating without an EPA licence.
What will the IDU do?
The IDU will identify, investigate and stop illegal waste activities using intelligence, covert surveillance and other investigative techniques to identify all parties that are involved in an illegal waste activity. Any party committing an offence along the waste chain, from producer, through transporter to the disposer, will be held accountable.
Deterrence is be enhanced by a zero-tolerance approach to offenders, including cost recovery and confiscation of the profits of illegal activity, to remove the financial incentive associated with illegal waste activity.
Whilst the IDU does not deal with smaller roadside car boot dumping and dumping of domestic waste it is working with local and state government agencies to deal with this issue, by sharing intelligence and providing support and training.
How can you help?
Always ensure you dispose of your waste properly. Click here for further information on how to recycle or dispose of your waste.
Check out our brochure (357 KB PDF).
If you have any information on illegal waste activities please contact our hotline.
Last modified: 24/07/2012 09:36 am