Illegal dumping is on the rise across the region and Camden Council has accepted a grant to help combat it.
The NSW Environment Protection Authority has pledged $437,868 over the next four years to help the council fight the issue.
Illegal dumping cases have risen from an average of 49 per month in 2014, to an average of 73 per month in 2017.
A Camden Council spokeswoman said the Better Waste and Recycling Grant Funding will be used to pay for a designated environmental officer to help target illegal dumping across the region.
“Statistics show that new development areas are becoming hotspots for illegal dumping, particularly of construction waste and landfill,” she said. “As one of the fastest growing areas in Australia there has been a steady increase in the number of incidents reported in the past few years.
“Council takes illegal dumping seriously, investigates each offence and takes enforcement action against offenders which can include fines orders or prosecution.”
People who are caught illegally dumping face on the spot fines of up to $8000.
The maximum penalty for the crime is $250,000 for an individual and up to $1 million for a corporation.
At last week’s council meeting deputy mayor Therese Fedeli said while she was pleased to accept the funding she was not pleased it would be used to combat illegal dumping.
“It’s unfortunate that the money will be used to fight illegal dumping and not on something else in the area,” she said. “But I am pleased it will employ someone new at no cost to council.”
Camden mayor Lara Symkowiak agreed the acceptance of the grant was a positive step.
“I am happy that the grant will employ a dedicated officer to investigate illegal dumping cases,” she said.
“Illegal dumping can be a huge cost to our ratepayers so I am happy to accept almost half a million dollars in funding.”
If residents spot someone illegally dumping or notice dumped materials they are urged to contact Camden Council to report the incident.
However if the dumped waste poses a risk to the environment or peoples’ health, or if the materials have been dumped in water, residents should call the EPA environment line on 131 555.