A western Sydney man has been hit with a massive $220k in court fees and fines after he co-ordinated the dumping of asbestos-contaminated waste.
A western Sydney man who orchestrated the dumping of 1,351 tonnes asbestos-contaminated waste at two rural properties in the Hawkesbury has been slugged more than $220,000.
Michael Anthony Laird was convicted of polluting land after he pleaded guilty to two charges of causing land pollution in June 2017 at the properties in Cleary Drive, Pitt Town.
A NSW Environmental Protection Authority spokeswoman said the property owners engaged Mr Laird to bring in dirt to create building pads and to level out a section of land for a retaining wall.
“Instead the fill material contained bricks, concrete, plastic fragments and asbestos,” she said.
“During an inspection of the properties in late July 2017, Hawkesbury City Council officers stopped the works after they observed bricks, concrete, metal, glass, clay pipes, timber and small fragments of fibro in the fill material.”
Asbestos was discovered in the fill after sampling was carried out.
As a result of the incident 1351 tonnes of contaminated fill had to be cleaned up and removed.
Windsor Court Magistrate Robinson ordered Mr Laird to pay a fine of $28,000, the payment of clean-up costs of over $173,000, and legal and investigation costs of $20,000.
EPA director Greg Sheehy said the property owners should never accept fill without first checking it was legal, accompanied by a written report certifying the quality of the fill and its origins, and if council approval was required.
“Fill may be free or cheap to bring on to a property, but if it is contaminated, the clean-up costs can be high – and the property owners can be left footing the removal bill as well as dealing with environmental pollution,” Mr Sheehy said.
“The EPA’s message is do not accept promises the fill will be clean. Make sure you check. Contaminated fill can contain anything from building waste to asbestos or chemicals and heavy metals that you do not want to expose your family to.”
For more information on how to protect your property from dirty fill visit the EPA website.