Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) is using the capabilities of drone technology to spot licence breaches from the sky.
EPA has been using a sophisticated aerial drone, officially known as a Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS), to conduct aerial surveillance and evidence gathering.
Following its monitoring of local landfill operations from the sky, EPA has fined the operators of two local landfills thousands of dollars.
EPA said in a statement that the licence breaches the RPAS spotted, could have caused problems with odour and litter.
A landfill company in the south-west region of the state has been fined $8261 for a breach of its EPA-issued licence to operate a solid inert landfill at Hamilton Hwy, Fyansford.
The local council has also been fined $8261 for the same offence at its municipal landfill.
Carolyn Francis, EPA South West Regional Manager said drone flights over a number of landfills late in the day found two landfills had left waste material still uncovered at the end of the day’s operations.
“Covering all waste material with a layer of soil at the end of the day is one of the basics of operating a landfill,” Francis said.
Francis said unannounced drone flights are now part of EPA’s routine compliance work to ensure the operators are meeting conditions of the licences they hold.
“It is one of the simplest ways to control odour and the escape of litter from an operating landfill and is clearly listed as one of the requirements of their EPA licence,” she said.
Francis said all landfill operators must know they have a responsibility to the environment and the community to undertake this kind of daily maintenance.
EPA said in a statement that both operators have now improved procedures and practices to ensure the proper management is carried out at their landfills.
The use of EPA’s drone technology follows a recent survey by SOTI, who found that over half of Australian respondents are comfortable with drones and self-propelled vehicle delivery.
Michael Dyson, SOTI Managing Director Australia and New Zealand, said companies in the region need to trust and adopt new supply chain technologies, such as drones, to ensure they are able to fully capitalise and advance operations.
“It is only a matter of time before local supply chains will face new pressures to transform and cater to this new channel.”