UPPER Hunter Shire Council is urging residents to report illegal dumping following a recent incident in Aberdeen when bags of household waste were tossed in a public area.
Illegal dumping of waste is a serious offence and causes damage to the environment, can harm human health and is expensive to clean up.
While council says the Upper Hunter Shire has a relatively low level of dumping compared to other local government areas, a number of dumping incidents in the Aberdeen region this year have sparked concern.
“Incidents of illegal dumping are investigated and offenders can be fined or prosecuted,” a council representative said.
“Dumped materials range from a piece of litter and small bags of rubbish, to larger scale dumping of hazardous waste such as asbestos and chemicals in isolated bushland areas.”
Since 2014 Council has been a member of the Hunter/Central Coast Regional Illegal Dumping (RID) squad, formed as part of the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) strategy for dealing with the problem of illegal waste dumping.
The RID squad undertakes aerial surveillance and information is passed on to Council for investigation.
If you see someone littering from their vehicle, you can report them to the EPA.
To report serious incidents of dumping, phone the Environmental Hotline on 131 555, email email@example.com or for smaller incidents, phone Council on 6540 1100.
Fines ranging from $250 for an individual and $500 for a corporation can be issued from the information you provide.
“By placing waste on your own land you may also be committing an offence. If waste is dumped on your land, you are responsible for managing the clean-up of the waste and bearing the cost. The owner of the waste and the transporter are also both guilty of an offence,” council said.
Penalties for landowners are severe with the maximum of $250,000 for an individual and $1,000,000 for a corporation.
Council is also urging residents to check the credentials of anyone who offers you free or cheap landfill and never accept fill from unknown sources.