Avoid the dangers of accepting fill on your land
Some fill may be contaminated, which can harm your family's health, permanently devalue your property and leave you with substantial cleanup costs. You may also face on-the-spot fines or prosecution for illegally using waste as landfill. If you're unsure, contact Council or call the Environment Protection Authority's (EPA) Environment Line on 131 555 during business hours.
By following the simple steps below you will minimise the risks and avoid the dangers of accepting fill on your property.
Check if filling is permitted and what council approvals are required
Before accepting fill on your land, check with Council to find out if filling of land is permitted and what approvals are required. Council approval is often required to ensure that only uncontaminated fill is used on residential properties and safety control measures are put in place. Council will also check that fill is not placed in areas where it may cause harm to plants and wildlife or pollute watercourses.
Don't risk a $5000 fine or penalties of up to $1 million!
Check the credentials of anyone who offers you free or cheap fill
If anyone approaches you about taking fill onto your property - either for free or for payment - ask them for proof of identity (such as a drivers licence) and/ or business details (such as an ABN or ACN). If you have any doubts, contact Council or the EPA.
Councils and EPA have investigated incidents where unscrupulous operators offered landholders 'clean fill' but delivered fill that was contaminated with building and demolition waste, harmful chemicals or asbestos.
Unscrupulous operators may dump the fill and then disappear, leaving the landholder with a contaminated site and significant clean-up costs.
Landowners and occupants can be ordered to remove unapproved fill and pay the costs of taking it to a lawful waste facility.
Never accept fill from unknown sources
Always ask the supplier where the fill is coming from and what activities were conducted at the site. Check whether any activity may have caused contamination. Ask for the site address and consider inspecting the site prior to accepting the fill. During the inspection make sure the fill does not contain any other wastes such as bricks, concrete, wood, asbestos or plastic. Also check the fill for staining, discolouration or odour.
If you don't know where the fill is from, don't take it.
Ask the supplier to prove that the fill isn't contaminated
Ask to see if the fill has a validation certificate stating that it is 'clean fill' as only clean fill is allowed to be used on your property. If you have doubts about the quality of the fill, request that the material is sampled and analysed for potential contaminants before accepting it. Always ask to see the original laboratory results. Alternatively, organise samples to be collected and analysed independently to prove that the fill is clean.
It is an offence to supply false or misleading information about waste. If anyone supplies you with false or misleading information (such as falsified ‘clean fill' documentation), report them immediately to EPA on 131 555.
Supervise and inspect all loads of incoming fill
Supervise delivery of all loads of fill onto your property to ensure that you receive only what you have ordered. Be aware that one load of contaminated fill could contaminate all other loads, particularly if they are unloaded in the same area. Keep your property's entry points secure at all times, so that vehicles cannot enter without your permission or knowledge.
Record details of all transporters bringing fill onto your property
Ask all transporters delivering fill to your property for documentation that shows the address of origin of the fill. Record the registration details of all vehicles that transport fill to your property, and ask drivers for proof of identity or employment, such as their drivers licence or company delivery dockets.
Keep copies of all documents and records
It is important to keep copies of all documents and records about the fill you receive, including the name and address of the supplier and transporter.