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NSW EPA helps builders avoid rogue waste operators

The results are in from the New South Wales Environment Protection Authority’s (EPA) construction site run-off blitz.

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has released guidelines for the construction and demolition industry to help it avoid engaging rogue waste operators.

Two guidance documents, the Construction and demolition waste: a management toolkit, and Owner’s guide to lawful disposal of construction and demolition waste have been designed to strengthen the building industry’s procurement and contract processes around waste disposal.

The documents include step by step guides to help the construction industry improve contracts with waste transporters and factor in control measures from the beginning of procurement through to disposal.

EPA Executive Director Waste Operations, Carmen Dwyer, said the documents outline quick, easy-to-follow steps the industry can take to make sure they don’t get caught up in waste scams.

“We know that most people in this industry are keen to cut out unlawful behaviour, and the Toolkit and Guide provide steps that businesses can take to ensure their waste material is lawfully disposed of,” Dwyer said.

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“Unlawful disposal can harm the environment, undercut the legitimate market and remove valuable recyclable resources from the economy.”

Waste generated from construction and demolition sites, including soil, contaminated soil and demolition waste, must be disposed of or reused lawfully.

The documents refer specifically to the tender, contract and project management phases of construction projects and are designed to help procurement officers on building projects engage contractors.

Some tips to help track waste include:

  • Know who you are doing business with: check that the waste contractor you are using is a legitimate company. You can check if the EPA has taken any actions against a company or individual by checking the Public Register.
  • Have a written agreement or contract to ensure waste expectations and rules are set out early.
  • Know where your waste is going and make sure that the nominated end point can lawfully receive your type of waste.
  • Get proof of lawful disposal before paying: ask for disposal dockets to prove the material went to a lawful waste facility, and validate that all the transported waste (not just a part of it) was disposed of there.
  • Notify the EPA immediately if something is not right.

In NSW, the owner of the waste and waste transporter may all be guilty of an offence if it is transported to the wrong facility.

Rogue waste operators can be fined up to $250,000 and corporations can be fined up to $1 million for doing the wrong thing. If the offence involves asbestos, the fines double.

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