Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) has served a notice on the Barro Group, the owners and operators of the Kealba landfill, requiring it to show cause why its licence to operate at the site should not be suspended.
A Notice on Intention to Suspend Permission has been issued to the Barro Group because it is in contravention of its operating licence due to hotspots at the Kealba landfill causing odour impacts on local residents. The Barro Group failed to meet the 31 May deadline for extinguishing these hotspots.
Barro Group has until Friday 16 July 2021 to respond to the notice. Further action will be determined once the company has been given an opportunity to respond.
EPA chief executive Lee Miezis said EPA would continue to pursue the company to fully extinguish all hotspots and prevent them from reoccurring in the future, ensuring there would be no financial cost to the community.
“The community quite rightly wants this clean-up to be completed as quickly and safely as possible, and so does EPA. The health and well-being of the residents living near the landfill is our first priority and we will continue to pursue all possible legal avenues to get this site remediated.”
The most recent clean-up notice issued by EPA required the landfill operator to complete removal of three of the hotspots by the end of May 2021, and the final remaining hotspot by the end of July 2021.
Unless independent evidence is brought to the EPA on why remediation of the site needs to go beyond July 31, EPA still expects the Barro Group to complete the remediation of the Kealba landfill site as quickly and safely as possible and to the deadlines set down in the current notice.
Since December 2019, five clean up notices have been served on this site requiring remediation. All Clean Up Notices have focussed on progressing the investigation and remediation of the site. These notices have prioritised the environmental and human health risks present as remedial works have progressed and considered feedback from the St Albans and Kealba communities.
To date, EPA has sanctioned Barro Group twice since this incident occurred. The first sanction was an Official Warning for failing to immediately notify EPA that hotspots had been detected. The second sanction was an Infringement Notice in April 2020 ($8,000 approx.) for failing to apply daily cover at the end of daily operations.