Asbestos dumper escapes fine
A WARWICK building contractor who tried to dump asbestos illegally at the Morgan Park Waste Facility will be spared prosecution under environmental protection laws, a government spokeswoman said yesterday.
As reported on May 26 the incident was initially investigated by the Southern Downs Regional Council, with responsibility for asbestos control split between a variety of agencies.
The contractor, who cannot be identified as no charges have been laid, removed the asbestos from a local building site in mid-May, without having the required authorisation to transport it.
A Council spokeswoman confirmed at the time that the asbestos was rejected by staff of the Morgan Park facility and was “temporarily” stored at an undisclosed site before its proper disposal.
She said Council had been satisfied there was no danger to the public as the waste was not open, was wrapped correctly “and was ultimately disposed of lawfully”, with the contractor having been issued with a verbal warning that any similar incident would result in Council issuing a fine.
But she said the material should not have been removed from the original construction site by anyone other than a registered waste transport operator.
Councils investigate waste dumping offences but the Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM) deal with breaches of the Environmental Protection Act of Queensland, including the improper transport of regulated dangerous waste such as asbestos.
Workplace Health and Safety Queensland is responsible for the handling of asbestos on approved building and other worksites.
DERM Regional Services director south-west Mike Birchley yesterday confirmed the department had “considered a recent incident involving the alleged transportation of regulated waste by an unregistered waste transport operator”.
“The waste has now been disposed of in accordance with the requirements of the Environmental Protection Act and the department considers the issue resolved,” Mr Birchley said.
“The waste concerned was asbestos and as there are health risks associated with removing and transporting this product, it is defined as ‘regulated waste’, with more stringent transport and disposal requirements than general waste.”
The maximum penalty under Queensland law for infringing asbestos regulations is a $40,000 fine.
Information about asbestos requirements is available via the department’s hotline on 1300 130 372.