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Man fined $36,000 for illegally dumping asbestos waste

15 September, 2014

A man has been convicted in the Land Environment Court and fined a total of $36,000 following a NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) investigation into the illegal dumping of asbestos waste on a property at Goolara Road, Mangrove Mountain, near Gosford.

Between April and May 2011 Julian Ashmore permitted the transport of approximately 3,840kg of asbestos waste from the Shell Clyde Refinery site at Rosehill, to a property on Goolara Road, Mangrove Mountain. The property used by Ashmore was not licenced to take asbestos material and is a separate site to another landfill that operates in Mangrove Mountain, which is an EPA licenced facility.

Ashmore's company had a contract for the lawful disposal of the waste. Without Shell's knowledge, the waste was taken to the property at Goolara Road, Mangrove Mountain. Ashmore subsequently provided fake dockets to Shell Refinery which purported to show the waste had been disposed of lawfully.

Ashmore was convicted and fined $24,000 for permitting the transport of the waste to a place that could not be used as a lawful waste facility. He was also convicted and fined $12,000 for providing false documents in relation to theses offences.

Good outcome for EPA

The EPA's Director of Waste and Resource Recovery Steve Beaman said the Court's ruling was a good outcome for the EPA and recognised the diligent work of the EPA's waste investigation officers.

"This ruling sends a strong message to the community that illegal operators will be caught and will be held to account for their actions.

"Ashmore's actions in this case showed a complete disregard for the law, laws that are in place to protect the environment and community. If not transported and disposed of safely waste, especially waste that contains asbestos, has the potential to cause serious harm to the environment," Beaman said.

Appropriate safeguards

"It's for this very reason that the EPA requires all operators to transport and dispose of this kind of waste at a licenced facility, and submit disposal receipts with proof to that end. We need to make sure the waste wasn't illegally dumped and that the appropriate safeguards are in place so that the asbestos is stored in such a way that it does not pose an environmental health risk."

In September 2011 the EPA issued a Clean-Up Notice to the owners of the Goolara Road site. The Officer of Water also issued a statutory notice requiring the removal of the material from a dam wall on the site.

In addition to the court fines Ashmore was also ordered to pay the EPA's legal costs, the total amount of which is yet to be determined. The EPA continues to monitor activities at the site.

The EPA has recently increased the penalties for serious environmental offences, including a penalty of up to seven years jail and a five million dollar fine for those who wilfully and negligently dispose of waste that causes, or has the potential to cause harm to the environment.