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Environment Protection Authority

EPA fines Warren Council for air pollution

Media release: 5 January 2017

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has fined Warren Shire Council $8,000 for causing excessive air pollution by burning 3,000 cubic meters of green waste at its Ewenmar Waste Facility.

The EPA inspected the Ewenmar Waste Facility in September 2016 following a complaint by a member of the public that smoke was coming from the facility. During the inspection, EPA officers observed green waste burning and smouldering causing excessive smoke. The smoke was impacting on surrounding properties and drifting towards the Warren township.

Acting EPA Regional Director South and West, Nigel Sargent said that burning green and timber waste is not an appropriate way to manage the waste and is an offence under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997

“The amount of waste accumulated and burnt was more than the size of an Olympic swimming pool,” Mr Sargent said.

“Green and timber waste can be composted or chipped and reused as mulch. Mulch is valuable for re-vegetation programs. These approaches are much more beneficial to the environment and minimise unnecessary impacts on the community.

“In this instance the Council failed to deal with the timber and green waste in a proper manner. It is important for green waste and timber to be managed so as that it does not build up to a point where it causes a potential fire hazard.”

The EPA will be working with Council to improve the management of green waste at the facility and to improve the overall management of the landfill.

The EPA also sent a caution to Council for not reporting the air pollution incident to the EPA.

Penalty Notices are one of a number of tools the EPA can use to achieve environmental compliance including formal warnings, official cautions, licence conditions, notices and directions and prosecutions.

For more information about the EPA’s regulatory tools, see the EPA Compliance Policy http://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/legislation/prosguid.htm.

Contact: EPA Public Affairs

Page last updated: 05 January 2017