Hume catches shocking rubbish dumper

Hume City Council has successfully prosecuted the business behind one of the worst examples of rubbish dumping in recent years, after a painstaking four month inquiry, which saw investigators travel interstate in search of the offender.

Hume Mayor, Councillor Adem Atmaca, said the Council had been relentless in the way it investigated the dumping, and used CCTV footage, weigh bridge receipts and batch numbers on boxes to discover the offending firm was a waste transporter in Queensland.

“This case should send a very clear message to anyone who thinks that they can travel up or down the Hume Freeway to dispose of rubbish in our community,” Cr Atmaca said.

“We have the ways and the means to investigate those who abandon rubbish in Hume, and this Council will utilise covert and hi-tech methods to bring offenders to justice.

“Wilful dumpers ultimately cost our ratepayers money, and we’ll act on behalf of our residents with rigour and determination.”

On 1 May 2014, Council officers attended a site on Gasoline Way, Craigieburn, where litter was on the road that included:

• six 1000-litre containers that each contained a brown liquid;
• flattened cardboard boxes;
• a large white hessian sack which held a number of empty sacks; and
• a pile of solid waste.

Cr Atmaca said that the rubbish weighed approximately 1.23 tonnes.

“We’re talking here about a very large load that had been transported by truck,” he said.

“A portion of the brown liquid had flowed towards a storm water drain, and while the Metropolitan Fire Brigade later determined it wasn’t toxic, this could have been a significant environmental hazard.”

Officers from Hume City Council quickly viewed footage from a CCTV camera and determined that only one truck had attended the scene on the previous night.

They then carefully analysed text on the boxes at the scene, and discovered batch numbers as well as the business name of a farm based in Queensland.

Council officers contacted the business owner who admitted that the waste looked like it had come from his Queensland plant, and he identified a rubbish trucking company that was tasked with transporting the material to a quarry facility in Queensland.

A Council officer then travelled to Queensland to visit the quarry, and uncovered weigh bridge receipts that indicated only part of the load had been discarded at the quarry.

“Those weigh bridge receipts were crucial in the investigation,” Cr Atmaca said.

“They proved that the truck driver had not completely emptied his load at the quarry.

“The rest of the waste ended up more than 1500km away in Craigieburn and the driver probably thought that that would be the end of it.”

In March 2015, a magistrate found the waste transport company guilty of charges that relate to illegal dumping, fined the business a total of $4750, and ordered it also pay a total of $4548 in cleaning and legal costs.

Cr Atmaca said that the case revealed just how determined Hume City Council was in pursuing offenders.

“We have installed a network of surveillance cameras at sites around Hume where people have dumped rubbish, and Council officers monitor them closely,” he said.

“Residents can now also report dumped rubbish via Hume’s new app, which offers an instant way to submit photos and uses GPS technology to identify the exact location.

“Every report of illegal disposals is investigated, and we attempt to prosecute each offender, regardless of the size of the waste.”

In the first three months of 2015, Council’s amenity crews retrieved 943 tonnes of illegally dumped rubbish.

Officers have recently investigated the disposal of items, which include:

• articles from a Chinese restaurant, such as menus, crockery, signage and cutlery;
• molasses, which is a product created when extracting sugar from sugar cane;
• dead animals;
• building materials; and
• household products, including furniture, televisions, fridges, ovens and mattresses.

Cr Atmaca called on anyone who had information about waste abandonment to speak with Council.

“Along with our Council app, we offer a 1300 number so that people can quickly report dumping, or let us know about someone whom they suspect may have disposed of materials unlawfully in Hume,” he said.

“Rubbish dumpers hinder the amenity of our neighbourhood, and that’s one of the reasons we take a zero tolerance approach to the issue.”

Offenders face fines of $289 for very small items, to up to $6000 if a matter reaches court.

Individuals who dispose of contaminated fill material, tyres, manufacturing, construction or demolition waste may be fined up to $610,700 or sentenced to seven years’ jail, and corporations face fines of up to $1.2 million.

Hume City Council offers a free hard waste service, and residents are entitled to one home collection of up to three cubic metres per year, as well as additional options, including an extra home collection or up to two visits to a Council waste facility.

Residents can book a hard waste collection on 9205 2200.

To report illegal rubbish dumping in Hume, call 1300 HUME CLEAN (1300 486 325), download and activate Council’s new app, or complete an online form.

Posted on 12:00 AM, 8 May 2015


Updated : 8:14 AM, 12 May 2015

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