New works to resolve Kealba Landfill odour problems

The Kealba community is being advised there will be works at the Kealba landfill over the next few weeks that take major steps to stop odour and smoke affecting neighbouring residential streets.

The measures to deal with two hotspots below the surface of the landfill will involve the operator uncovering some of the waste and hosing it down, which may create a temporary increase in odour.

Under a new Clean Up Notice (CUN) from Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA), Barro Group Pty Ltd will be required to implement a clean-up plan to deal with the hotspots, including monitoring air quality and informing the community of results and any progress towards compliance.

EPA continues to monitor efforts to resolve the hotspots and has now fined the operator of the landfill in Sunshine Avenue, Kealba, $8,261 for leaving hundreds of cubic metres of waste exposed overnight.

The landfill is licensed to accept solid inert waste and shredded tyres under strict EPA conditions designed to prevent odour, leakage, vermin or other problems – those conditions require waste to be covered with soil every day, but EPA officers responding to a report from the public found an estimated 245 cubic metres of waste left exposed overnight.

So far, EPA has issued the company with:

• A legally enforceable Clean Up Notice (CUN) requiring air quality monitoring with the results made public, and actions to keep the community informed. The CUN required the company to provide EPA with a detailed plans to prevent any future hotspots.

• An official warning for failing to notify EPA of the incident immediately.

• A new CUN to implement measures to abate hotspots at the premises, implement air quality monitoring to prevent harm to the local community; to inform the local community of progress and results, and prevent impact on local waterways from any wastewater that is generated.

EPA Western Metropolitan Region Manager Stephen Lansdell says EPA will continue to work with Kealba residents to protect the local community.

“The smoke and odour problems at the Kealba landfill are not yet resolved, but there will be more work done at the site over the coming weeks,” Mr Lansdell said.

“This is a reminder to all businesses that EPA licence conditions will be enforced,” he said.

“It is also another example of how a report to EPA from a member of the public helped to protect the environment and the community from pollution.”

Background

Hotspots are known to occur occasionally at municipal waste and solid-inert waste landfills. Often a contributing factor is the access of air to waste below the ground.

People can often smell odours long before there is any health risk, and while monitoring has shown no issues of concern, EPA urges the public to report it to the 24-hour hotline, on 1300 EPA VIC (1300 372 842), should the odour become excessive.

EPA provides a history of the situation and any new developments at: epa.vic.gov.au/for-community/current-projects-issues/active-environmental-issues/current-landfill-issues/kealba

Under the Environment Protection Act 1970 and the Infringements Act 2006, the company has the right to have the decision to issue the infringement notice reviewed or alternatively to have the matter heard and determined by a court.

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