Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) says a hefty fine issued over a burning pile of farm waste in southwest Victoria is a warning to all rural landholders.
Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) North West Region Manager Dr Scott Pigdon said the fire cost a dairy company more than $8,000, after EPA officers found the pile, containing plastic, wire, soil and hay, still burning when they arrived.
“The pile also included a 20-litre plastic chemical drum, fence posts, ash and bailing twine. It was industrial waste and should have been taken for proper disposal,” Dr Pigdon said.
EPA issued the company with a fine of $8,060 for permitting the discard of industrial waste through burning, a breach of Section 27 of the Environment Protection Act.
The burning pile was approximately four metres square and 1.8 metres high, with grey smoke and flames visible when EPA’s officers arrived. They were told the fire had started through spontaneous combustion several days before.
A company representative told EPA the local CFA brigade had been called to fight a similar spontaneous fire in a pile of waste at the farm 12 months earlier.
Under the Environment Protection Act 1970 and the Infringements Act 2008, the company had the right to have the decision to issue the infringement notice reviewed or alternatively to have the matter heard and determined by a court.