Hefty infringements have been issued to a Geraldton resident and a local business for the illegal dumping of asbestos at the Meru Waste Facility.
Caught burying the asbestos waste under metal in the metals recycling area, a local resident was fined $1000 and a local business was fined $4000 for illegally dumping asbestos in the builder’s waste area whilst a second resident was issued a warning for not declaring and properly disposing of the dangerous material.
City of Greater Geraldton Chief Executive Officer Ross McKim said illegally dumping asbestos can have both severe and costly consequences.
“The illegal dumping of asbestos is concerning because it is hazardous waste and needs to be handled correctly or it can pose a health risk to those handling it,” he said.
“Residents are only required to pay $15 per sheet to dispose of up to 10m2 of asbestos and businesses $150/tonne for correct disposal at Meru landfill.
“Attempting to avoid these fees by hiding asbestos in other piles of rubbish or worse in recyclable material areas is unacceptable.
“This illegal dumping could endanger the health of other users and Meru staff whose job it is to process and recover waste. It also contaminates the recyclable materials other residents and businesses have carefully separated.
“The removal of the illegally dumped asbestos and then remediation of the site also comes at a cost which often isn’t totally recovered by the fines imposed,” he added.
Asbestos removal up to 10m2 does not require a licence to remove. Asbestos amounting to more than 10m2 requires a licenced removalist to comply with the regulations. Legislation requires asbestos materials to be double wrapped with a minimum of 0.2mm of plastic and marked as asbestos.
Although undisturbed asbestos cement materials in good condition do not pose a health risk because the fibres are bound together, materials that have been damaged or are crumbling or is disturbed by breaking, cutting or drilling releases fibres into the air and can pose an extreme health risk when breathed into lungs.