Council shining a light on illegal dumping in Lake Mac
Date posted: 10 December 2018
Lighting has been installed at an illegal dumping hot-spot in Lake Macquarie in the latest bid to crack down on the environmentally destructive practice.
Lake Macquarie City Council installed the 20m-tall solar-powered light to illuminate a known dumping ground off Reservoir Road at Glendale.
The Hunter/Central Coast Regional Illegal Dumping (RID) Squad – a joint project of the NSW EPA and local councils coordinated by Lake Macquarie City Council – has investigated almost 1100 incidents in the past year alone across Lake Macquarie and eight other local government areas.
Hunter/Central Coast RID Squad Coordinator Rob Robertson said more than 24,300 tonnes of illegally dumped material had been detected since January 1 across the Hunter/Central Coast RID Squad’s area of operation.
Lake Macquarie City Council Manager Sustainability Alice Howe said community surveys showed illegal dumping was one of the greatest environmental concerns for residents.
“We will not tolerate illegal dumping, and we will do everything in our power to hold those responsible accountable for their actions,” Dr Howe said.
In the Lake Macquarie local government area, RID Squad officers have issued 21 penalty notices so far this year, with offenders fined a total of almost $62,000.
Another 16 clean-up notices were issued, forcing offenders to clean up their own mess.
As well as this week’s lighting installation, Council has recently extended a guard rail on George Booth Drive, Seahampton, to prevent access to illegal dumpers, and installed a gate and fencing at Bay Vista Road, Brightwaters.
“We will continue to work hard to be even more efficient and effective,” Mr Robertson said.
“The RID Squad is committed to detecting offenders who illegally dump, and this involves a range of strategies, including covert cameras, forensic analysis of dumped materials and surveillance operations.”
“However, some people continue to ignore the law and show a total disregard for public safety and the environment by dumping their waste illegally.”
On-the-spot fines for illegal dumping start at $2000 and rise steeply depending on the circumstances and the type and volume of material involved.
Analysis shows that household waste is the most common illegally dumped material, accounting for 50 per cent of all recorded incidents.
Construction and demolition waste are the next most common.
Mr Robertson said an incident earlier this week, where more than a tonne of waste concrete was poured onto a vacant lot near West Wallsend, was typical of illegal construction waste dumping.
More than 127 tonnes of household waste, from old mattresses to plastic bags full of children’s toys, has been dumped in Lake Macquarie illegally since the start of the year.
“What sometimes happens is that fly-by-night waste removalists will advertise online, pick up your rubbish and taken payment, then try to dodge tip fees by dumping their waste illegally,” Mr Robertson said.
“Most householders don’t realise they are actually liable when this occurs.
“They are required to show due diligence to ensure their waste is lawfully disposed of and that is why we encourage people to always request a ‘tip receipt’ from waste haulers and record their vehicle rego to ensure they are doing the right thing.”
The RID project is a NSW EPA Waste Less, Recycle More initiative, funded from the waste levy.
Article by Lake Macquarie City Council
Page last updated: 10 December 2018