Sean Fewster, 26 April 2016

A COMPANY belonging to Adelaide’s Shahin family has been fined $28,000 over the unlawful dumping of toxic soil at Mount Compass.

On Tuesday, the Environment, Resources and Development court recorded a conviction against Nasmin Pty Ltd and further ordered it pay a $150 Victims of Crime levy.

The Environment Protection Authority had alleged the company “undertook a proscribed activity” by operating a waste depot without licence or authorisation.

It alleged that, between January 2 and January 13, 2012, it dumped 2000 tonnes of contaminated, toxic soil — from an Adelaide On The Run petrol station redevelopment — atMount Compass.

The watchdog accused the Shahins, the operators of On The Run and Krispy Kreme, of employing up to 100 trucks to dump the waste soil over 10 days.

The company pleaded not guilty, accusing the EPA of “shifting the goalposts” on the legal definition of waste in order to make out its case.

It asked the EPA be forced to open its confidential files on past prosecutions to demonstrate how it “flip-flopped” on such matters, but that application was refused.

Michael Abbott, QC, for the Shahin family, told the court in an earlier hearing that the law gave the EPA the power to define what was and was not waste, and to change its mind as often as it liked.

“According to the EPA, waste — like beauty — is in the eye of the beholder … what’s waste one minute can become non-waste another minute,” he said.

“They might say that the tissues inside a box are waste but the box isn’t because it’s a valuable recyclable material … that’s the changing nature of the definition of ‘waste’.”

The EPA had alleged the soil, from the corner of Anzac Hwy and Marion Rd at Plympton, tested positive for hydrocarbons and “exceeded intermediate levels” of toxicity.

Liesl Chapman, SC, prosecuting, said during that earlier hearing that previous exemptions were sought and granted before materials were dumped.

“The defendants never made an application, prior to January 2, for a licence — that’s the end of the story, quite frankly,” she said.

Extracted in full from the Adelaide Advertiser.