PORT Stephens mayor Bruce MacKenzie’s family business has been fined $15,000 as part of an ongoing investigation of alleged unlawful waste dumping at Macka’s Sand and Soil at Salt Ash.
The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) issued the $15,000 fine and an official caution on Monday to Grafil Pty Ltd, which trades as Macka’s Sand and Soil, for land pollution and breaching a clean up notice.
Almost 360 tonnes of building and demolition waste, including asbestos, was found on the Salt Ash site on October 30 during an EPA inspection.
The dumping of building waste breached a May 2013 clean up notice issued by the EPA after significant stockpiles of waste was found on the site, including near and in waterways.
EPA director of waste and resource recovery, Steve Beaman, said the EPA launched an investigation into alleged unlawful waste activity at Macka’s Sand and Soil at Oakvale Drive, Salt Ash in 2013, with the clean up notice including a condition preventing any further waste from being accepted at the Macka’s premises.
While the EPA was satisfied Grafil had complied with the clean-up notice at that time, the discovery of almost 360 tonnes of waste in October 2015 showed the company had failed to continue to comply with the clean up notice which was still in force.
“The waste included almost 360 tonnes building and demolition waste including asbestos. Laboratory analysis confirmed asbestos to be present in waste that had been brought into the premises since the notice was issued in 2013,” Mr Beaman said.
“In addition, we commissioned a survey of stockpiles of waste on the premises in May 2013 and October 2015. A comparison of the two surveys revealed a difference in stockpiles and additional stockpiles in 2015.”
The EPA has issued a penalty notice for $15,000 to Grafil for land pollution by asbestos waste.
“As there was more than 10 tonnes of asbestos waste on site, this constitutes land pollution under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997.
“Land pollution is an environmental breach that the EPA regulates strictly. We have taken appropriate regulatory action.”
The EPA said Grafil had acted promptly to remove the 360 tonnes of asbestos waste to lawful landfill as required by a new clean up notice. The company had provided a clearance certificate after the asbestos waste was removed.
“The EPA is continuing its original investigation into the alleged unlawful disposal of waste at the Macka’s premise,” Mr Beaman said.