Serial illegal dumper jailed

Dib Hanna has become the first person to be jailed as a repeat waste offender under anti- dumping legislation introduced by the NSW Government in 2014.

Dib Hanna has been sentenced to three years in prison, with a non-parole period of two years and three months, in the NSW Land and Environment Court. He pleaded guilty to one charge of illegal transport of waste and four counts of illegal dumping of waste.

Dib Hanna has also been ordered by the Court to remove the illegally dumped waste within 90 days, pay the Environment Protection Authority’s legal costs, and place advertisements about his crimes.

Dib Hanna offered ‘free clean top soil’ to residents from the Hawkesbury and the wider Sydney region via flyers in letterboxes. However, after investigating deliveries of illegal fill, Hawkesbury City Council’s Regulatory Services Officers discovered the fill was not clean but contaminated with many items including asbestos, plastic, fibre cement sheeting, pipe, rubble and terracotta.

The Mayor of Hawkesbury, Councillor Mary Lyons-Buckett said she hoped the tough anti-dumping legislation, and the jailing of Dib Hanna, would serve as a strong deterrent to any potential dumpers in future.

"Illegal dumping, especially of asbestos waste, is a serious environmental crime and NSW has tough laws to prevent it,” the Mayor said.

“Illegal dumping is an environmental crime which the NSW Environment Protection Authority and Council take very seriously.

“My thanks to NSW and Victoria Police for their assistance and long term commitment in pursuing Dib Hanna.”

An individual can be fined up to $1,000,000 and receive a seven year prison sentence for wilful dumping offences, and $500,000 or a four-year prison sentence for negligent offences.

There are also on the spot fines that apply for illegal dumping — up to $7500 for an individual and $15,000 for a company.

Keep watch for illegal fill

Hawkesbury City Council is urging all residents to be wary of operators offering free ‘clean’ fill. In recent weeks, Council continues to receive reports of unscrupulous operators distributing flyers to Hawkesbury households, offering free ‘clean’ fill, but delivering illegal fill that is contaminated with building and demolition waste, harmful chemicals or asbestos.

Council’s Environment and Regulatory Services staff receive callouts to properties within the Hawkesbury, where fill material has been accepted by home owners who have received flyers in the mail. These property owners have had damage to their properties, as the fill that was delivered was not clean and the amount delivered was in excess of what was requested.

Residents must be cautious about accepting fill from an unknown and unverified source that doesn’t have the required validation certificates. Residents are advised that earthworks within the Hawkesbury require a development application which should be sought prior to any works commencing.

Home owners who knowingly or unknowingly accept contaminated fill are responsible for payment of fines that may be issued, and any clean up and removal costs of contaminated fill. This could run into hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Councillor Mary Lyons-Buckett wants residents to heed the warning and stay vigilant.

“It is important to know that any fill you accept is legal and that you have the necessary approvals. If you have any doubts about land filling, check with Council first,” the Mayor said.

‘It is so unfortunate that our beautiful Hawkesbury has been contaminated by unscrupulous operators dumping illegal fill, much of which may contain asbestos.

“If anyone approaches you about taking fill onto your property, either free-of-charge or for payment, ask them for proof of identity and/or business details such as an ABN or ACN.”

People who have any doubts or witness any suspicious activity in your area, should contact Council’s Customer Service on (02) 4560 4444 or ring the Environmental Protection Authority’s Environment Line on 131 555.

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