3 August 2011

Geelong man, John Tsorotes has been convicted and fined more than $40,000 for two separate incidents involving the large scale dumping of asbestos and industrial waste in Geelong.

Mr Tsorotes who pleaded guilty in May this year to a charge of abandoning industrial waste (construction and demolition waste) and another of permitting the deposit of industrial waste (asbestos), was sentenced in the Geelong Magistrates’ Court today (August 3).

The Court heard that in 2006 Mr Tsorotes and a business partner took over the occupation of a site at 132-160 Point Henry Rd, Geelong. Over the next two years increasing volumes of industrial waste were accepted on the site and the landowner became increasingly concerned and requested the waste be removed.

In 2009, EPA issued Mr Tsorotes with a notice and directed him to clean up the site – the notice was never complied with.

An industrial hygienist who attended the site at EPA’s request, put the volume of waste at 15 piles of building and demolition waste measuring 35 metres circumference by about four metres high and 15 tonnes of separated asbestos, the court heard.

EPA director Matt Vincent said the result was a victory for EPA in its bid to combat illegal dumping.

“While it would be nice to think these were one-off incidents, illegal dumping is widespread and in many instances highly orchestrated - unfortunately it ends up costing everyone in the community,” he said.

“EPA continues to work behind the scenes to catch these criminals but encourages people to report anything suspicious to EPA so we can investigate further.”

Mr Tsorotes was ordered to pay $18,539.20 in EPA costs and required by the Court to publish a notice in newspapers regarding his convictions. His co-defendants McCormacks Demolitions Pty Ltd and Casey McCormack were convicted by the Court and fined on similar charges in December last year.

Mr Tsorotes, who failed to attend three Court mentions last year and had four warrants issued for his arrest was also convicted and fined on a separate matter.

In this second matter, the Court heard that Mr Tsorotes, who was at the time the manager of a Portarlington demolition sales yard, Second Best, trading as Joost was caught red-handed by EPA burning industrial waste, including construction and demolition waste, timber, plastic, carpet, bricks and metal.

At the time of the incident Mr Tsorotes provided a written response to EPA officers that he was responsible for ‘lighting a small fire to keep three unemployable youth warm whilst providing them with work’. He was issued with an EPA fine that was never paid.

However, the court convicted Mr Tsorotes on this matter (a charge of discarding waste by burning) and fined him $1402 and ordered him to pay an additional $7149 in EPA costs.