$25,000 EPA Fine Over Exposed Asbestos

A man who left 150kgs of industrial waste containing asbestos exposed on a Spotswood demolition site in violation of Environment Protection Regulations has been fined $25,000 by a Broadmeadows magistrate.

Ali Barakat who runs Image Demolition, was filmed as he spilled litres of dangerous chemicals by crushing plastic drums with earth digging equipment, onto a demolition site in Watt Street, Spotswood and left the asbestos open on the ground.

When EPA officers attended the site in December 2021 he refused to take any responsibility. EPA served a formal notice requiring him, amongst other things, to develop a formal clean up plan.

However instead of complying, Barakat produced an Asbestos Clearance Certificate to show the ground was now clear of any visible asbestos but he was unable to prove that the asbestos had been removed, and if so, where it had been taken.

Unfortunately, this is also an important reminder to landowners that they the need to remain vigilant in managing their sites. In this case the landowner proactively cleaned up the site contamination left by Barakat at a cost of $100,000 which is much more than Barakat would have needed to pay given his expertise in demolition and access to equipment.

“At a time when Melbourne is very sensitive to the subject of asbestos, those who do not dispose of it properly should see this as a warning that EPA will prosecute and it will cost you. It is easy to do the right thing with clear information and support available at asbestos.vic.gov.au,” said EPA Chief Investigator Greg Elms.

Barakat will also pay EPA’s legal costs of nearly $6,000.

EPA encourages anyone that sees illegal waste dumping to call their pollution hotline on 1300 372 842 (1300 EPA VIC).

/Public Release. View in full here.