Bulla tip operators have been caught out not covering their dumped waste … by an EPA drone.

The BTQ Group, which runs the Sunbury Road landfill, has been fined more than $7700 by the Environment Protection Authority after a drone relayed photographs and video footage of extensive areas of exposed waste at the end of a day’s operations at the tip on January 17 this year.

EPA metro manager Daniel Hunt said the tip licence required exposed waste to be covered by at least 30 centimetres of soil to prevent it from being blown beyond the tip boundaries by the elements.

Mr Hunt said it was important that waste materials were covered daily to reduce odour, and vermin, and to prevent stormwater contamination and litter impacting on the local environment.

EPA officers used the drone as part of its landfill compliance surveillance program.

“The footage captured clearly shows multiple operational areas on the premises with visible waste, such as plastic, concrete, steel and wood, that indicates that it has not been adequately covered at the end of operations for the day, as required under its EPA licence,” Mr Hunt said.

“This breach of the company’s EPA licence was avoidable … BTQ Group is well aware of its licence obligations and, in this case, correct management and monitoring of exposed litter would have avoided the fine.”

The BTQ Group was also served with an official warning in January when significant dust was emitted from its landholdings, which is also a breach of its licence.

Mr Hunt said the EPA would continue to hold landfill operators accountable for regulatory requirements through its surveillance of tips and landfills.

He urged residents to report suspected pollution to the EPA on 1300 372 842.