A WASTE disposal company has been fined £27,000 for persistent odour problems at a controversial landfill site.
Biffa Waste Services Ltd, which operates the Houghton Quarry site in Sunderland, was also ordered to pay costs of £8,250 to the Environment Agency, which brought the case at Sunderland Magistrates’ Court.
The company admitted two charges of failing to comply with environmental permit conditions.
Paul Harley, prosecuting for the Environment Agency, told the court how on February 28, 2008, the company was sent a warning letter because bad odours were evident beyond the site boundary.
An area of waste had not been covered and attempts had not been made to minimise the odour.
Biffa operates Houghton Quarry as a non hazardous waste landfill site, which is permitted by the Environment Agency.
The environmental permit for the site states that emissions from the landfill should not cause odour problems at a level that could cause a nuisance locally, unless the site operator has taken measures to prevent or minimise them.
On February 7 last year, an Environment Agency officer was called out to the landfill site following complaints.
Odours were found to be coming from some excavation works on site. Leachate was seen running from the waste and collecting on the surface. Leachate is the liquid formed after waste decomposes, and can be both toxic and highly odorous.
The waste was left uncovered when the site closed at lunchtime on the Saturday, until the following Monday.