Hallam Road landfill is operated by SITA Environmental Solutions (SITA). The landfill is located in an old sand quarry. It’s one of the largest landfills in Victoria, serving nine of Melbourne’s municipal councils. It has an EPA operating licence (CL68819, formally ES33144) that sets out the environmental outcomes it must meet.
The landfill accepts household and solid inert wastes which are deposited in fully lined landfill cells in the old sand quarry. The landfill began accepting waste in 1997 and has local government planning permission to accept waste until 2040.
October 2013 update
In June 2012 EPA approved the design of cell 9 and required SITA to cease tipping waste into cell 8, the main source of odour, by the end of June 2012. Final capping of cell 8, including the connection of gas wells, was completed in October 2012 with some top soil and seeding to follow. EPA has inspected the completed capping works on Cell 8. The EPA hotline has experienced a significant reduction in public pollution reports since the completion of the cap.
Enforceable undertaking update
On 2 August 2012, EPA convened its first restorative justice conference that allowed community members to voice how the offensive odour from the landfill has affected them and gave them the opportunity to input into the contents of an enforceable undertaking (EU).
On 21 September 2012 SITA and EPA signed an EU that requires SITA to, among other things:
- fund an independent review of possible health effects associated with putrescible landfill emissions, in response to community concerns raised at the August 2 restorative justice conference. The report, authored by RMIT, and a separate review by CSIRO, are available below
- contribute $100,000 to a local environmental project to be determined in consultation with the community, the EPA and the local council
- improve management of all future landfill cells.
The company estimates it will cost about $800,000 to comply with the undertaking.
What is landfill gas?
Landfill gas is a mixture of gases produced as waste decays in landfills. It is made up of methane, carbon dioxide, nitrogen, small amounts of oxygen and hydrogen. It also contains over 500 trace elements and compounds which account for <1 per cent by volume but which are the cause of offensive odours experienced by those near to landfill sites.
Landfill gas is usually extracted from the landfill by operators. If the amount of gas produced by the landfill exceeds the amount of gas being extracted, the gas can vent to the atmosphere which can then cause offsite odours. Landfills such as the facility at Hallam Road are commonly lined and capped with clay or a geo-membrane, and have gas and leachate extraction systems to control off-site movement of landfill gas.
How you can be involved
SITA Community Reference Group (CRG)
SITA wants to interact with community representatives in a consultative forum to monitor the operations of its waste management and organic processing facilities and provide input on a wide range of resource recovery, sustainability and corporate citizenship topics.
To achieve this, it has established a CRG for the Hallam Road facility. If you’re interested in registering for CRG membership, send an email to vic_communityenquiries@SITA.com.au.
SITA environmental report hotline
SITA has also set up a hotline to allow the community to report any issues and receive feedback and updates on what is happening at the site. The number is 1800 368 737 and is operated 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
If you experience odour in the area, you are able to report this to EPA by calling the EPA pollution hotline on 1300 372 842 (1300 EPA VIC).
Sometimes, odours only stay for short periods making it hard for an EPA officer to verify your report. You should call EPA as soon as you’re aware of the odour.
What information does EPA need when you report odour?
Here’s a list of the information you should include in an odour report:
- time of odour
- name and address of reporter
- location of the odour
- character and strength of the odour
- identity and location of alleged source
- length of time of the impact and frequency if it has occurred before
- the impact the odour is having on you
- wind direction and strength.
You may also use a diary to help remember details of ongoing offensive odour incidences. See understanding offensive odour for more details.
What will happen if EPA verifies my odour report?
EPA may ask you to sign sworn statements detailing the dates and precise times of the odour and why and how the offensiveness of the odour affected you. This is important information which enables EPA to relate the effect of the odour to the area of legislation under which we can take enforcement action for odour offences.