EPA takes action over asbestos at Blaxland Tip: fines RG Demolition

The NSW Environment Protection Authority has fined a Liverpool-based company for dumping asbestos waste at Blaxland Tip in 2016.

RG Demolition Pty Ltd from Wattlegrove, near Liverpool in south western Sydney, and its owner Ryan Glover, were fined $6,250 for providing false and misleading information about waste disposed at the Blaxland Waste Management Centre.

But Mr Glover and the company deny ever using Blaxland Tip or receiving any notices from the EPA and plans to contest the fines in court.  

On November 10, 2016, Blue Mountains Council made a report to the EPA’s Environment Line regarding the disposal of asbestos at the Blaxland Waste Management Centre. Council said the asbestos waste was not declared to staff on arrival at the gatehouse, and as a consequence, was disposed of in the general waste disposal area.

Following a complex EPA investigation, and with council’s help, RG Demolition Pty Ltd was ultimately identified as being responsible.

“Council assisted the EPA in the subsequent investigation which was instrumental in identifying the responsible party,” an EPA spokeswoman said. She added the “risk of harm was minimised through the actions of council”.

The EPA issued notices to both the company and company director to answer questions about the incident, however they failed to comply with the EPA’s requirements. The attempt at avoiding EPA scrutiny resulted in three penalty notices being issued for providing false and misleading information and failing to comply with statutory notices.

The penalties issued to Mr Glover include $4,000 for providing false and misleading information about the waste and $750 for not complying with an EPA notice. R.G. Demolition Pty Ltd was fined the corporation amount of $1,500 for not complying with an EPA requirement.

The EPA spokeswoman said penalties were issued to the registered address of both Mr Glover and his company.

But the owner Mr Glover denied he knew anything about the matter when contacted by the Gazette.

“We dump at Kemps Creek,” he said. 

“We strongly deny any alleged allegations of illegal waste disposal at Blaxland waste facility. All asbestos or contaminated waste is transported and disposed of at licensed EPA landfills such as Suez Kemps Creek. We will be fighting this in court to clear our company.”

EPA Manager Regional Waste Compliance Cate Woods said the community expects the EPA to take strong action against those who unlawfully dispose of waste and place human health and the environment at risk.

“By providing false and misleading information about waste, appropriate decisions about safe management and disposal cannot be made, which has the potential to impact on human health and pollute the environment,” Ms Woods said.

Blue Mountains Mayor Mark Greenhill commended staff for picking up the breach and reporting it and for the EPA’s investigation.

“This is a great outcome and I thank the EPA for their efforts to investigate this incident. I commend the council staff for reporting the matter to the EPA in the interest of worker and public safety.

“The fact that asbestos containing material was not declared to staff on arrival at the Blaxland waste facility highlights the ongoing challenges we face in managing asbestos at our waste management facilities, and more broadly in the city. The need to identify and manage asbestos containing material is a challenge faced by councils across NSW.”

Cr Greenhill said council was exploring options to better manage the identification and handling of asbestos containing material on entry to the Waste Management Facilities to prevent this kind of incident from happening in the future.