A DEPARTMENT of Environment Regulation (DER) investigation has resulted in a Canning Vale waste facility being fined $50,000 for emitting unreasonable odours, and having to pay $130,000 in costs to DER.
The Southern Metropolitan Regional Council (SMRC), which operates the Regional Resource Recovery Centre (RRRC), was found guilty in Perth Magistrates Court for emitting unreasonable odours from its facility in March 2012.
DER commenced the prosecution after its inspectors responded to community complaints and identified offensive odours emanating from the facility.
The court ordered SMRC to publish notices about the conviction within 42 days in its own community newsletter and annual report, as well as three community newspapers.
In these notices, SMRC is required to acknowledge it was convicted after emitting an odour that unreasonably interfered with the welfare, convenience, comfort or amenity of a number of members of the Leeming residential community.
DER received 187 complaints from March 2012 to March 2016 – 121 of these from March to December in 2012 – alleging unreasonable odours from the RRRC.
DER’s director general Jason Banks said it was important to note SMRC had made substantial improvements to its systems at the RRRC since 2012, with DER receiving just five complaints alleging unreasonable odours from the facility last year.
Mr Banks said the case highlighted the importance of ensuring industrial premises prone to emissions were adequately separated from residential areas.
“It is crucial all industry operators take appropriate actions to ensure that operational emissions and discharges do not adversely impact upon the health of people or the environment,” he said.
The SMRC was convicted under the Environmental Protection Act 1986, which applies a maximum penalty for emitting an unreasonable emission of odour of $125,000.
Odour complaints can be made to DER’s 24-hour Pollution Watch Hotline on 1300 784 782.