Monday, June 24, 2024

Construction company fined $40k for concrete waste stockpiling

An Ipswich construction company has been fined $40,000 after being caught on camera illegally accepting, stockpiling and crushing concrete waste despite receiving orders to stop from the Department of Environment and Science (DES).

In a statement, DES said that between July and December 2020, the operator accepted, processed and stockpiled a large amount of waste concrete on a site near Ipswich without an environmental authority (EA), meaning the site was not managed in accordance with Queensland’s environmental standards.

Without the appropriate management, the receiving, stockpiling and crushing of waste concrete can pose environmental risks to surrounding communities through dust, noise, stormwater contamination and waste disposal, it said.

“This level of brazen offending is not acceptable to us or to the community,” a DES spokesperson said.

“The approvals required by operators to carry out such activities are in place for a good reason – to manage the potential risk of harm to both the environment and surrounding communities.”

On 20 September 2020, the Department issued a direction notice to the operator to stop accepting and stockpiling waste concrete due to the lack of approvals.

The company was caught on camera dumping concrete.

It says the operator chose to ignore this direction and continued to accept waste concrete, and on 18 November 2020 was issued a penalty infringement notice by DES as a result, DES said in a statement.

On 1 December 2020, DES compliance officers witnessed the operator accept and process even more waste concrete while on site for an inspection.

These actions were caught on bodyworn cameras worn by the DES officers.

As a result, the operator was issued a second fine – both of which they contested in court.

A summary trial was held in February 2023 and on 30 May 2023, the operator was found guilty of one count each of carrying out an environmentally relevant activity without an environmental authority, and wilfully contravening a direction notice.

In July, the court imposed a $40,000 fine and ordered the operator pay $5,900 in legal and investigation costs.

“This fine serves as a strong reminder to operators that we will not back down from taking action to combat illegal activities that pose a risk to our environment,” a DES spokesperson said.

The operator was also ordered to pay a monetary benefit order of $1,720, representing the EA fees that were avoided during their illegal operations.

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