Phone before you fill

Phone before you fill

Thinking of levelling your land or filling in low parts of your property? Phone Council before you fill!

Property owners need to have permission from Council to bring fill onto their land. Landfilling is not exempt development. Suppliers of fill need to obtain official certification to ensure that their fill is free of chemical and harmful materials.

Illegal landfilling is using dirt or waste as 'fill' without the necessary planning or licensing approvals. This commonly happens when excavation, construction and demolition waste is used as illegal fill for landscaping, land modification, reclamation works, roads and noise mounds.

Illegal fill can contain contaminants like asbestos or chemicals, which can harm human health and the environment. Illegal landfilling could permanently devalue your land, and you could end up facing hefty fines and clean-up costs. It is also illegal to use fill to divert the natural overland flow of water, which could negatively impact or damage neighbouring properties.

Don’t illegally fill your land!

Check first

  • Phone Council to check if filling is allowed on your land –
  • Seek development consent for permission to bring fill onto your land
  • Use clean good quality fill that doesn’t contain contaminants like asbestos, chemicals or building waste
  • Work out where you can put it – do not put it where it could harm trees, wildlife or waterways.
  • Make sure it won’t cause flooding or divert the natural overland flow of water.
  • Have the right safety measures in place.
  • Don’t accept free fill from unknown sources – suppliers may be seeking out a dumping place as a means of evading the cost of taking fill to a registered waste facility
  • If you don’t get approval, council or the EPA might order you to remove the fill and pay for proper disposal. They can order land-owners and occupiers to do this.

Ask questions and keep records

  • Beware of free or cheap fill because it may be contaminated.
  • If anyone offers you free or cheap fill, ask for their full contact details and ABN to see if they are trustworthy.
  • Ask your supplier for a written report certifying the quality of the fill, and where it comes from.
  • Ask the supplier to test for contaminants and give you the results if you aren’t sure about the quality of the fill.
  • Keep copies of all records you receive from the supplier, such as emails, quotes and invoices.
  • It is an offence to give false or misleading information about waste. If you suspect someone is doing the wrong thing, phone the EPA on 131 555.

Supervise delivery

  • Supervise and check all loads of fill as they arrive.
  • Make sure you have time when your delivery arrives to check what you are getting.
  • Ask delivery drivers where the fill has come from.
  • Keep a record of their details, such as truck registration, proof of identity or employment and driver log books.
  • Don’t accept fill if it contains asbestos, bricks, concrete, wood, glass or plastic, looks a strange colour or smells bad.
  • Keep your property locked when you are not there so trucks cannot enter without you knowing.

Understand the risks

  • Dishonest operators may offer landowners good quality clean fill, but deliver fill with building waste, chemicals and asbestos in it. You may get a lot more fill than you wanted. Then they disappear, leaving you with contaminated land that costs a lot to clean up.
  • Accepting contaminated fill could devalue your land, risk your family’s health and cost you thousands of dollars to clean up.
  • If you dispose of fill illegally or accept illegal fill, you could receive up to:
    • $15,000 on-the-spot fine
    • $5 million in court fines
    • 7 years in prison
  • It is your responsibility to ensure that your waste, including excavated material and demolition waste, is taken to a legal facility.

Don’t fill without permission and risk your property, family health or money!