The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) South Australia, with the assistance of South Australia Police (SAPOL), the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) and local government have disrupted illegal waste operations in late May.
The crackdown involved a number of search warrants executed at businesses and residential premises across metropolitan and regional SA in relation to the illegal activities.
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EPA Chief Executive Tony Circelli said this has been a complex investigation with significant outcomes and serves as a warning to those who operate illegally in the waste industry
“The lawful South Australian waste industry provides an essential service for our community and businesses managing around 4.5 million tonnes of waste annually and being responsible for around 5,000 jobs. The legitimate industry works to meet required environmental standards and supports our leading recycling culture,” Mr Circelli said.
“The EPA is committed to maintaining confidence in existing and planned investments by ensuring that unlawful operations are brought to account and do not undercut sound operations.”
Mr. Circelli said the four-month long investigation involved extensive surveillance and resources, and required the EPA to draw on special powers warrants introduced in 2017.
“This law allows the EPA to better regulate waste generated from construction, demolition and earthworks to ensure appropriate and safe transport and disposal,” he said.
The investigation identified more than 1000 tonnes of construction and demolition waste, including material containing asbestos.
“This operation is a great demonstration of the new powers and collaboration across multiple agencies working together to target the illegal operators and support the legitimate waste industry,” Mr Circelli said.
The Waste and Recycling Industry Association of SA (WRISA) President Jim Fairweather said there is no place in the waste, recycling and resource recovery industry for illegal or poor-quality operators that tarnish the reputation of the industry.
“WRISA supports the work of the EPA in upholding environmental standards and licence conditions as steps towards helping to maintain a waste and recycling industry that has the public’s confidence,” Mr Fairweather said.