The Victorian Environment Protection Authority (EPA) in Australia fined the operator of the Ravenhall landfill after it was found to have too much exposed waste. The EPA used a drone to inspect the landfill from above in a surprise visit.

The fine

On May 22, the Environment Protection Authority‘s drone visited the Ravenhall landfill to perform an unannounced inspection. The drone spotted an excessive amount of exposed waste without alerting the workers at the landfill.

The EPA fined the landfill owner, Landfill Operations Pty Ltd, AUD$16,522 ($11,800) for breaching the landfill operating license. The landfill was hit with two fines, for having too much exposed waste on the operating tip face and for leaving too much waste exposed on the surface.

This specific landfill doesn’t have the best past with the EPA. It once received 19 complaints in just one week about smells coming off the landfill. The EPA stated that one of the easiest methods of stopping odors coming off the landfill is to cover it with a thin layer of dirt, something that needs to be done every day.

Drone usage

The EPA received an operating certificate from the country’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) to allow the use of drones in and around landfills. The pilots are required to keep the drones more than 15 meters (49 feet) away from people at all times, half the 30-meter (98 feet) rule that applies to the rest of Australia.

EPA have shared that the usage of drones in its day-to-day inspection operations is now a standard piece of technology used across the government body. For some, this raises the question of whether the Australian government should be using drones to complete hidden surveillance on companies and people. In this case, I think the use of the drone is fine, as it is being used to regulate a business and one that is of great importance to a functioning city.

Photo: David Smith

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