EPA regularly monitored the air in residential and business areas within 5 km of Glass Recovery Services in Coolaroo. This was because the work we did to remove stockpile hotspots might have air, odour, dust and smoke impacts.

We tested for:

  • fine particles (PM2.5)
  • chemical vapours called volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Air quality results showed low levels of PM2.5 and VOCs below air quality guidelines used to assess the impacts to human health. This means they were below levels of concern.  


The work we did to remove the hotspots may cause VOC emissions in the air.  

We checked for VOCs at the site, local businesses and other local areas. In early November 2019, we found these VOCs in the air: 

  • ethylbenzene
  • heptane
  • xylenes
  • naphthalene
  • propylene
  • styrene
  • toluene.

The levels of these in the air were below levels of concern and like levels that traffic causes.  


There was an odour of organic material from the site. The emissions were in low concentrations and below toxic limits.

Odours on their own aren’t a reliable way to determine health impacts of chemicals in the air. Chemical odours don’t always impact people’s health.


Dust samples from the site in early November 2019 had glass shards in them. They weren’t the main component of the dust and were well below minimum exposure levels.

We measured dust against the Australia Workplace Exposure Standards.

Smoke and steam

As we excavated the stockpiles for cooling and removal, there may have been flare ups of smouldering materials.

Fire response was always onsite to deal with fires quickly. But there may have been some smoke in the air.

Water quality

We have been monitoring water quality in Merlynston Creek and Jack Roper Reserve over recent months. In the past, e.coli levels in the leachate from GRS have been too high. The level of e.coli in these waterways is now at safe levels for recreational use.

Hume City Council has installed permanent signs along these waterways warning people and pets to avoid contract with the water.

Read more about the Coolaroo stockpiles

About the stockpiles in Coolaroo

EPA’s role at the Coolaroo stockpiles

Reviewed 22 July 2020