There are significant penalties 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 and industrial waste, liquid 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 you can help
Always ensure you dispose or recycle your waste properly.
Check out our brochure.
How to report an incident
The EPA has responsibility for the illegal dumping of commercial quantities of industrial and demolition waste and hazardous wastes. You can report illegal dumping or illegal activity with the transport or receiving of waste to the EPA in the following ways:
- Telephone: (08) 8204 2004 or 1800 623 445 (non-metropolitan callers)
- Fax: (08) 8124 4670
Note: Kerbside rubbish and litter remains the responsibility of local government and should be reported to the council.
Use email notification for non-emergency situations, and include:
- name, address and daytime telephone number of person making the report
- incident details (please indicate if the incident is still occurring at the time this notification is lodged)
- date and time of incident
- details of source of waste >> business name, address, vehicles registration, etc
- location of incident (if it is not the same as above address).