$263,000 penalty after hiding 14,000 tonnes of general and asbestos waste

NSW Environment Protection Authority

The former owner of Bowral Landfill has been fined $263,000 after the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) discovered incomplete weighbridge information had been provided. At least 14,000 tonnes more general solid and asbestos waste had been deposited at the tip than was documented.

Ibrahim Elmustapha pleaded guilty in the NSW Land and Environment Court to six charges, for providing false or misleading information when dealing with waste between September 2017 and March 2018. At the time he was operations manager at Bowral Landfill and sole director of Southland Waste Pty Ltd, the company with an environment protection licence for the Landfill.

The EPA investigation uncovered approximately 430 truckloads of waste had been taken to the landfill but omitted from submitted weighbridge records, avoiding payment of a waste levy.

EPA Executive Director Regulatory Practice & Services Stephen Beaman said the waste levy is an important economic tool to increase recycling.

“Trying to make a quick profit by avoiding the waste levy undermines everyone’s efforts to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill and isn’t fair on all the waste operators who do the right thing,” Mr Beaman said.

“The regulatory regime is also in place to provide the correct checks and balances for asbestos waste, and any attempt to get around that impacts our ability to monitor its safe disposal.

“This sort of criminal behaviour has the potential to cause environmental harm, and we’re very pleased the court agreed and handed down a significant penalty.

“The professionalism and persistence of our officers shows that it pays to do the right thing when it comes to disposing of waste.”

Mr Elmustapha was fined $263,000 and ordered to pay the EPA’s legal costs as agreed or assessed which have been estimated to be up to $145,000.

Prosecutions are one of a number of tools the EPA can use to achieve environmental compliance, including penalty notices, formal warnings, licence conditions, notices and directions, mandatory audits, legally binding pollution reduction programs and enforceable undertakings.


/Public Release.