The Land and Environment Council fined Port Stephens Council $40,000 for disposing of more than 200 tonnes of soil, black plastic pipe, pieces of tiles, bitumen and concrete in a Medowie quarry.
According to the ABC, 11 stockpiles of illegally dumped waste were found on the site, each up to one and a half metres high, with no barrier between the trash and the water in the pit.
The council has already spent almost $650,000 cleaning up the site following an investigation by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA). But, according to the Port Stephens Examiner, after the EPA decided to press charges, the council will pay a further $71,000 in the prosecution?s costs, plus more than $590,000 in unpaid levies from its waste reserves.
The council?s own legal fees came in at $80,000, rounding out the dumping?s entire cost at around $1.4 million ? no small beer.
According to The Newcastle Herald, the Medowie Road site was legally used as garbage dump for several decades until the State Government outlawed the practice in the late 1990s.
Port Stephens Council claimed to be ?disappointed? with the ruling.
“We were initially disappointed that the EPA decided to prosecute this case,” Port general manager Peter Gesling told The Examiner. “Council was always hopeful that our proven track record over a long period of time as an exemplary corporate citizen would weigh on the decision.”
Port Stephens Council, which has already audited its practices and found an alternate dump site, was given 28 days to pay the $110,000 in penalties.
Sources: ABC, The Newcastle Herald, The Port Stephens Examiner