Spring seems to be a time of redecoration and renovation, but the state’s Environment Protection Authority has found that with that comes illegal dumping.
The EPA says that in a highly competitive industry, a small number of skip bin operators will dispose of waste illegally.
Bendigo has been named as one of the regional areas where dumping is a problem, with waste typically left on farmland and public land.
The EPA’s Illegal Waste Disposal Strikeforce program has a focus on illegal dumping by skip bin operators, as well as the dumping of construction and demolition waste, and tyres.
The agency says that in a highly competitive industry, a small number of skip bin operators will dispose of waste illegally.
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“There are fly-by-night skip bin operators who will give you a very cheap price, then abandon your renovation waste in the bush, on private land or in a rented warehouse,” Chris Webb, of the EPA’s Strikeforce, said.
“The landholder, your local council, or even you, might be the one left with the clean-up cost, and unlike the skip bin, it won’t be cheap.”
The EPA says those hiring a skip bin company should ask questions, and be wary of prices that seem cheap in comparison to other quotes.
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The agency also urges members of the public to watch out for suspicious activity, such as unusual truck movements at night, commercial properties or warehouses collecting piles of waste, or very cheap offers of waste removal, and report it.
“Illegal dumping contaminates the environment, it disadvantages the honest businesses who pay the fees for proper disposal, and it often leaves the community or landholders paying for the clean up,” Mr Webb said.
Read more: EPA fines Hopley for illegal waste dumping
In the past two years, the EPA has undertaken nearly 350 illegal dumping related inspections, issued more than 170 legal notices requiring a clean up, conducted prosecutions through the courts and issued infringement notices that represent fines of nearly $8000 each.
The EPA can legally require those responsible to clean up a dump site, it can fine them thousands of dollars or it can take the case to court, where fines can be in the hundreds of thousands.
Anyone with information about illegal dumping is encouraged to report it to EPA by calling 1300 EPA VIC (1300 372 842) or via the website www.epa.vic.gov.au.