A Kurri Kurri waste plant has been hit with a $126,500 penalty for receiving more than double the amount of waste its licence allows.
Central Waste Plant Pty Ltd has entered into an Enforceable Undertaking with the NSW Environment Protection Authority to pay $111,000 towards conservation and clean-up programs and an additional $15,000 for the EPA's legal and investigation costs.
EPA acting director regulatory operations David Gathercole said the maximum amount of waste Central Waste Plant is permitted to receive at its Kurri Kurri site was 35,000 tonnes in a 12 month period.
"The company received over 96,000 tonnes of waste for recycling in the year leading up to March 2020," Mr Gathercole said.
Mr Gathercole said this was the third consecutive year this condition was allegedly breached.
As part of the undertaking, Central Waste Plant will have to clean-up and remediate illegally dumped waste in the Tomalpin Woodlands (the site of the Hunter Economic Zone), including identifying and disposing of asbestos. The works will cost an estimated $93,500.
The company must also pay $18,000 to fund the project "Protecting Cessnock Forests and Woodlands" to support and enhance the conservation of the critically endangered Regent Honeyeater.
Mr Gathercole said he hoped the large penalty would serve as a strong warning for waste and recycling companies to deal with waste lawfully.
"It is important to manage waste correctly, to set an example and to protect our environment," he said.
Enforceable Undertakings are a tool that the EPA can use as an alternative to prosecution. Through an enforceable undertaking, the EPA may secure outcomes such as environmental restoration measures or contributions to environmental projects. The undertaking is enforceable by the Land and Environment Court.