Hume won’t stand for this rubbish


A business operator which illegally massed a huge stockpile of rubbish in Somerton has not only endangered the Hume community, but is now also in breach of VCAT orders.

Ecotec Woodwaste Pty Ltd has operated what many people would deem an old-fashioned tip since April 2014 at 9-31 Patullos Lane in Somerton.

The company has never been granted a permit to undertake its activities, which it claims are to burn organic waste through an intense incinerator, to produce a type of ash.

In reality, Ecotec Woodwaste Pty Ltd mostly operates a business model that allows numerous kinds of waste materials to accumulate, with the widespread rubbish heap now more than 10 metres high.

It consists of mounds of waste, contaminated with building timber, bricks, metal, plastics, broken asphalt, and clay roofing tiles.

Hume CEO, Domenic Isola, said Council has closely pursued the site’s operator, Ecotec Woodwaste Pty Ltd.

“The company has failed to respond to our clean-up demands, and it has now ignored the orders of VCAT,” Mr Isola said.

“Ecotec Woodwaste Pty Ltd has produced a massive mess which needs to be dealt with in a safe, prompt and legal fashion.

“It has produced an unsightly rubbish dump which affects the amenity of neighbouring businesses such as Honda Australia, which tests motorbikes at a track just metres away.

“Since the waste mounds are now so high, they can be seen from a number of vantage points and that’s not fair on anyone who spends time in our great community.”

On 17 September 2014, a large fire engulfed the piles of rubbish at the site and it took the CFA many hours to extinguish.

More than 30 firefighters attended and used 50,000 litres of water to douse the blaze, which resulted in smouldering for several weeks.

Council wrote to Ecotec Woodwaste Pty Ltd as early as May 2014 to demand that the waste activities stop, since they contravened the Hume Planning Scheme.

Also last year, Council officers undertook a random inspection of the property, with representatives of the CFA and EPA.

After the fire in September, Hume asked VCAT to grant an enforcement order, which would further require the operator to halt all operations and lawfully clean-up the site.

On 30 March 2015, VCAT ordered that Ecotec Woodwaste Pty Ltd and the owners of the site, Karam Investments Pty Ltd, provide Hume City Council with a Waste Removal Plan, and neither party has done so.

The Tribunal also demanded that the owner and operator lawfully remove and dispose of waste by 30 June 2015, and fill-in a trench at the site by 31 July 2015.

The CFA has also issued the parties with clean-up orders, and the EPA continues to assist Hume City Council with its investigations.

“It’s really an outrageous use of land and Hume City Council will continue to pursue all legal avenues to ensure the site does not pose any risk to the people who live, work and spend time in Hume,” Mr Isola said.

Posted on 12:00 AM, 22 June 2015

Updated : 10:22 AM, 22 June 2015

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