Facilities in Malta fall under the scope of a number of legislations depending on the nature of the installation and operations conducted. A large proportion of facilities monitored by ERA carry out waste management activities ranging from sorting and processing to treatment and storage of incoming waste, thereby falling under the scope of the S.L. 549.63 Waste Regulations or S.L. 549.77 Industrial Emissions (Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control) Regulations.
Waste management facilities that are covered by the above-mentioned regulations are therefore required to obtain authorization in the form of General Binding Rules, an Environmental Permit or an IPPC Permit, depending on the scale of the operations. These permits define a standard set of environmental conditions that regulate any potential environmental impact and are used as a means of reference during site inspections.
Some types of waste facilities which are regulated by ERA include:
– WEEE storage/treatment Facilities
– End-of-Life Vehicle Facilities
– Recyclable Sorting & Packaging Facilities
– Non-Hazardous Waste Landfills
– Waste Incinerator
– Scrap Metal Facilities
– Other Hazardous & Non-Hazardous Waste Facilities
The inspections conducted within facilities are primarily either planned routine inspections or related to a complaint received by the Authority.
Routine inspections take place throughout the year with the number of inspections per facility being based on risk; taking into account the operations of the facility, the scale of said operations and the past compliance levels of the facility in question.
When conducting a routine inspection, the officers together with the operator or TCP (Technically Competent Person), go through all the processes of the facility from beginning to end in order to observe whether the conditions stipulated in the Environmental Permit or IPPC are being adhered to throughout. In addition, the inspection serves as a means to confirm whether any pending prior issues have been addressed and if so, proof of such is collected. The inspection is then followed by a detailed inspection report which lists any issues that were noted, as well as actions to be undertaken by the operator. Deadlines for the completion of these actions are also imposed in the report and a follow ups are conducted to ensure that any potential issues were rectified.
When complaints are received by the Authority, officers commence investigations in order to verify the claims made by the complainant. If any illegalities, including operations without a permit required by law or in the form of breaches of permit are noted, the Authority may then choose to take further enforcement action accordingly. There are a range of actions which ERA may take. These include but are not limited to administrative fines, Out of Court Settlements, Stop Orders or Stop and Compliance order with associated daily fines based on S.L.549.72 – Daily Penalty Regulations, or by taking court action. These enforcement actions may also be applied in cases when issues persist following routine inspections, depending on the case at hand.