The quick thinking of a citizen journalist has caught a rubbish dumper in the act.
Yandoit resident Sharon Treloar was walking with friends on Monday afternoon when she saw a truck dumping a bulk load of ‘disgusting rubbish’ in a gully believed to be private land.
She took photos of the rubbish dump and truck, including its registration number, while it was parked about 50 metres from Yandoit Track near the Glamorgan Road turnoff, and reported it to Hepburn Shire Council and Environment Protection Authority Victoria.
Her actions have been praised by EPA and Hepburn Shire Council officers, who are using the evidence in further investigations.
EPA north west region manager Scott Pigdon said reports of illegal dumping that included photos and an accurate location can speed up an investigation.
“The faster EPA hears about an illegally dumped load of waste, the faster we can do something about tracking down the culprit, prosecuting them and having the mess cleaned up,” he said.
“Illegal dumping creates an eyesore and can contaminate the soil and nearby waterways, and the cost of the clean up is too often left to the community or landholders.”
The dumping of household or industrial waste on a site that is not licensed to accept it is an offence under the Environment Protection Act 1970 and can attract a fine of $7929, or considerably more if the case goes to court.
The site can also be the subject of a ‘clean up notice’, a legally enforceable order from EPA that can require the site be cleaned up by a set date and measures taken to prevent further pollution.
Hepburn Shire Council interim chief executive Bruce Lucas said council was ‘confident’ the offender at the Yandoit site will be identified during the investigation.
“Council has a zero tolerance stance on illegal rubbish dumping within the shire. The size of the dumping is large and we have therefore commenced working with the EPA on this report,” he said.
Council is responsible for removing dumped rubbish at the ratepayers expense in instances where an offender cannot be located and the rubbish is dumped on council land.
Local councils across the state spend around $30 million every year cleaning up abandoned waste.
EPA has an Illegal Waste Disposal Strikeforce dedicated to reducing the dumping of large scale industrial waste.
The team has inspected hundreds of sites for illegal dumping and issues more than 170 clean up notices in the past two years.
When you see waste dumped in the bush or abandoned on private land, report it to EPA by calling 1300 EPA VIC (1300 372 842) or visiting www.epa.vic.gov.au.