Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) has planning well under way for the mammoth task of cleaning up the huge stockpile of waste at Broderick Rd, Lara.
EPA Regional Manager South West, Carolyn Francis, says the authority has been working for months on the complex task.
“The final removal of an estimated 320,000 cubic metres, or hundreds of tonnes, of mixed waste may take up to three years,” Ms Francis said.
“It is not just the sheer size of the stockpile that is challenging, it is the mix of construction and demolition waste, including timber, concrete, bricks, plaster, glass and ceramics, and the fire and contamination hazards the stockpile can still present if it is not carefully managed,” she said.
"This operator has left a mess at the site bigger than anything we have previously seen in the state for this kind of waste. This will be a long and complex clean up to deliver.”
“For the safety of the people working on the site, those transporting the waste, staff at the facilities that receive it, and especially the community at large, it needs to be well planned and executed to ensure it is done safely, but also in a timely and cost effective way,” Ms Francis said.
“We hope to begin moving some of the already-sorted materials like timber and mulch within the next few weeks and we will continue to keep the community informed along the way. There will also be a community information session in September to talk about the project and provide further information – details will be provided shortly,” she said.
“The careful planning will also allow EPA to maximise recovery of recyclable materials, keeping costs as low as possible and minimising the amount of landfill space used. Of course, EPA will need to make decisions about the best way to manage materials as they are removed from the piles, and where sending them to landfill is the safest and most logical option, then that’s what will be done."
“Once work begins, people can expect to see a greater number of trucks entering and leaving the site. There may be some dust once the excavators begin work, but we will have mitigation measures in place to keep that to a minimum, along with continued measures to manage any potential fire risks,” Ms Francis said.
“EPA is establishing a site office and will have staff working onsite to monitor conditions while the project is under way,” she said.
The Victorian Government has committed $30 million dollars to start the removal of the huge waste stockpile, and EPA and the Victorian Government will continue to pursue the duty holder for the costs associated with the clean up.
On 29 April 2019, after other remedial options had been exhausted, EPA used its power under the Environment Protection Act 1970 to begin a clean-up of the site after the site occupier, owners and liquidators failed to provide adequate fire and risk management controls.
The City of Greater Geelong is managing the interim fire risk measures at the site including maintaining 24/7 security, secure fencing and maintenance of firefighting equipment.
EPA has set up a dedicated web page to provide the community with timely updates and information about the project. You can see the latest on the Broderick Road clean up at: https://www.epa.vic.gov.au/our-work/current-issues/broderick-road-recycling-epa-response .
The clean up is one of a number of major actions being taken to combat hazardous illegal stockpiling of waste in Victoria.
The Victorian Government’s EPA-led Resource Recovery Facilities Audit Taskforce has conducted hundreds of inspections of resource recovery facilities across the state and imposed a range of enforceable orders, fines and prosecutions to tackle stockpiles that might pose a fire risk that can lead to harm to human health and environment.
And Victoria’s new environment laws will take effect on 1 July 2020, introducing a general environmental duty requiring businesses and individuals to prevent harm to the environment and human health. You can learn more about the new legislation on EPA’s website at www.epa.vic.gov.au/newlaws
Members of the public can report illegal stockpiles and other types of pollution by calling EPA’s 24 hour hotline on 1300 EPA VIC (1300 372 842).