Monday, April 22, 2024

Blacktown Mayor applauds landfill odour case outcome

Blacktown City Council has applauded a Land and Environment Court ruling which has seen a $280,000 fine issued to a local landfill operator following hundreds of odour complaints from residents.

The Land and Environment Court issued the substantial fine to Dial-A-Dump (EC) Pty Ltd, a subsidiary of Bingo Industries Limited.

The court heard that the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) had received around 750 complaints from residents in Sydney’s west about offensive “rotten egg gas odours” in 2021 coming from the company’s Eastern Creek landfill between March and June 2021.

The Court also ordered the company to pay the EPA’s investigation costs of $42,575 and the EPA’s legal costs, still to be agreed by the parties but noted in the Court’s judgment to be approximately $365,000.

“These penalties underscore the severity of the odour situation for our local residents,” said Blacktown Mayor, Tony Bleasdale OAM.

“On behalf of the Blacktown City community and the people of Western Sydney, I want to continue to be clear, we have had enough of our community being exposed to air and water pollution without consequence to the perpetrators.

“The well-being of our residents and the preservation of our local environmental amenity is paramount, and it is unacceptable for any organisation to neglect their responsibilities to their local community.”

The Mayor said Blacktown City Council has been at the forefront of dealing with this issue for many years.

“In 2021, residents complaints could not be clearer, for those affected the odour was insufferable,” he said.

“Three Blacktown City Environment Health Officers were involved in the in-depth investigation into finding the original source of the odour, working with the community, providing detailed evidence and significantly collaborating with the EPA.

“The Court’s decision to allocate a portion of the penalty towards an environmental restoration project in Minchinbury is a positive step towards rectifying the harm caused.

“My thanks to the residents, Councillors and Members of Parliament actively involved in advocating for the community and pressing for appropriate action to address the problem,” said Mayor Bleasdale.

The court was told the odours came from the company’s Eastern Creek landfill between March and June 2021 and were caused by inadequate landfill gas extraction systems.  

Over four months residents in Minchinbury, Eastern Creek and Horsley Park were regularly subjected to the offensive odours.

The Court handed down the penalties after noting many residents affected by the odour suffered very real psychological and physical harm, as well as considerable harm to their amenity for several months.

EPA NSW Executive Director Regulatory Operations, Jason Gordon said adequate controls should have been in place to collect landfill gas and protect the community.

“It is not acceptable for residents to suffer for months ongoing odours from industrial neighbours that impact their wellbeing and day-to-day,” Mr Gordon said.  

“Waste facilities have obligations under their licence to ensure potential odours have measures in place to counter any odour emissions.

“We know this incident was very traumatising for surrounding communities but we want to thank them for their assistance in securing this outcome. Their help was integral to our investigation and enabled us to identify the source and take action.”

The Court ordered that half of the $280,000 penalty be paid to Blacktown City Council for an environmental restoration project in Minchinbury and that the conviction and penalty be published in the Sydney Morning Herald and other publications.

Dial-A-Dump was also ordered to undertake a letterbox drop publicising the conviction and penalty to all properties located in 66 streets in suburbs surrounding the facility.

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