Current issues

Broderick Road recycling EPA response


In April 2019, EPA stepped in to clean up a huge waste stockpile at Lara after the previous operator let the recycling waste grow to dangerous levels. This followed considerable efforts by EPA, City of Greater Geelong, CFA and others to have the site appropriately managed.

Poor site management practices by the previous operator, C&D Recycling, have resulted in an unacceptable risk to the local community, the environment and emergency services in the event of a fire at the site.

The occupier and owner of the site have gone into liquidation. This is why EPA has stepped in to make sure community safety is maintained.

The Victorian Government has provided initial funding of $30 million to maintain fire prevention measures and clean up the site – a job that could take several years as the site contains an estimated 320,000m3 of mostly construction and demolition waste, including materials such as timber, concrete, bricks, plaster, glass and ceramics.

EPA is working cooperatively with City of Greater Geelong to maintain fire prevention measures to minimise the risk of a fire, ahead of and during the cleanup project.

More information about waste and disposal of waste

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  • Q&As and related issues
  • Why is it taking so long to see work happening at the site?

    You may not see a lot of activity onsite until September 2019, but a great deal of planning is happening now. This includes procurement, management planning, employing staff and establishing a site office for staff. This planning work is important to ensure the cleanup is done safely and in a timely and cost-effective way.

  • When will the works begin?

    Project planning and procurement works are now underway.

    Activity onsite will be evident by October 2019. Early site works will focus on some already sorted and identified materials, including contaminated soil piles.

    Work on the largest pile will begin in 2020. It will take longer because it is more complex. The waste will likely be sorted onsite, so it can be recycled or taken to a suitably licensed landfill.

    Once onsite work begins, you may see an increase in the number and type of trucks entering and leaving the site. You will also see more cars at the site because a project team office will be onsite.

  • How will I know what is happening?

    EPA will regularly update this web page and provide information through local media.

    A community meeting will be held just before works start, to help inform people about the project timeline.

    You can contact us on 1300 372 842 (1300 EPA VIC) or email contact@epa.vic.gov.au with any questions.

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  • What fire management infrastructure has been implemented at the site to reduce risk?
    • Secure permanent perimeter fencing.
    • 1,000,000 litre static water tank storage installed.
    • Hydrant lines installed along the south and west boundaries.
    • The site is surrounded by an earthen bund to secure fire water (if required).
  • What fire management measures have been put in place?
    • 24/7 security guards at the site with hourly patrols.
    • Monitoring of mulch piles and recently chipped timber piles.
    • An excavator and water truck are onsite for quick response.
    • An emergency management plan has been prepared, with input from all relevant authorities.
  • What would happen if this site caught fire?

    While there are measures in place to minimise the risk of a fire, and to respond quickly if a fire starts, a fire at the Broderick Road site could cause significant community impacts from smoke. The waste stockpiles could pose a significant risk and challenge for firefighting agencies if ignited. Fire water run-off could enter waterways and have long-lasting impacts on the environment.

  • What plans are in place if a fire does start?

    A fire management plan for the site remains in place. Improved road access for firefighters, firefighting water supplies and ring main are provided onsite. (A ring main is a primary loop connected to pumps, so there are two routes for water to flow in case one side gets blocked.)

    Emergency services would control any incident at the site. Community advice and warnings would be issued by Emergency Management Victoria as required.

    The CFA has developed several response plans to mitigate the risk where possible. These plans include actions on initial response and the potential for an escalating fire, and involve several aspects, including aviation response, air monitoring, water supply and public information.

    The CFA, EPA and City of Greater Geelong continue to work alongside other agencies to further enhance our response plans.

    There is a highly collaborative approach between the agencies to do all that is possible to reduce the likelihood of fire and limit the impact to the community.

  • Will we have to evacuate if there is a fire?
    • CFA will be monitoring the site closely and providing regular updates to the community on fire risk in the event of a fire.
    • In collaboration with the CFA incident controller, Victoria Police is the responsible agency to manage and conduct any evacuation. Any decision to evacuate will be dependent upon information provided by EPA as to air quality at any particular time and forecast air quality.
    • Local residents may be ordered to shelter indoors and refrain from outdoor activity. You may be required to shut your windows and doors to keep the smoke outside, among other measures.
    • We encourage residents to stay up to date with weather conditions and regularly check for fire warning updates during the fire season.
    • Warnings and updates regarding fires around Victoria are broadcast on:
      • ABC local radio
      • VicEmergency Twitter (@vicemergency) / Facebook (facebook.com/vicemergency)
      • CFA Twitter (@CFA_Updates) / Facebook (facebook.com/cfavic).
    • Other ways to stay informed include:

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  • Who will undertake the rehabilitation of the site?

    EPA has exercised its powers under Section 62 of the Environment Protection Act 1970 and will project manage the works in cooperation with City of Greater Geelong. A dedicated project team is being established and will be based at the site.

    EPA will engage appropriately qualified contractors to complete the works.

  • How long will the cleanup take?

    The cleanup is expected to take up to three years due to the significant volume of waste at the site.

    Throughout this period EPA and the City of Greater Geelong will keep the community informed of the progress being made.

    The site will be under 24/7 security and have fire mitigation measures in place to reduce the risk of fire at the premises.

  • How much will the cleanup cost, and who’s paying for it?

    The Victorian Government has provided initial funding of $30 million to maintain fire prevention measures and clean up the site. The full cost of cleanup will be determined through government procurement processes.

    EPA will pursue the previous site occupiers, owners, company directors and any other relevant parties, on behalf of Government, to seek to recover the costs of the cleanup.

  • To what extent will the site be ‘cleaned up’?

    The waste accumulated onsite will be cleaned up and recycled or disposed of in an appropriate manner. Infrastructure such as the office building and sheds will be maintained and left onsite.

  • What will happen to the site after it’s cleaned up?

    The land will likely be sold to recover costs associated with the cleanup and fire prevention measures being implemented.

    EPA has statutory powers to sell the land following a cleanup to recover its costs for the cleanup.

    The cleanup does not alter any planning scheme and permit requirements or restrictions. City of Greater Geelong and the responsible authority under the Planning and Environment Act will need to consider what future uses would be suitable for the site.

  • Where will the materials removed from the site be sent?

    Waste materials will be recycled where possible, with some of the waste taken to landfill. The recyclable materials will be sent to an appropriate facility for processing.

  • What is in the waste stockpile?

    The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) heard in April 2018 that the site contains an estimated 320,000 m3 of material.

    The material mainly consists of construction and demolition waste – a combination of timber (painted, treated, untreated, engineered), concrete, bricks, rock, soil, wood chips, metal, plaster, fabric, plastics, paper, cardboard, glass, ceramics and electronic cables and components. 

  • Is there asbestos in the stockpile?

    Under the VCAT orders, the site occupier and owner were required to conduct a sampling program to inform a preliminary fire management plan, rehabilitation plan and a development management plan for the site.

    That sampling (airborne monitoring) detected low levels of asbestos that did not exceed exposure standards.

    Given that the waste is predominantly from construction and demolition activities, it is possible that some asbestos containing material may be present. Any asbestos containing material will be handled in accordance with WorkSafe regulations.

     

  • Is there a current risk of airborne pollutants?

    While the site is stable there is no detected risk of airborne pollutants.

    Once work begins, during excavations and removal of the items there may be some dust unsettled. Should you feel affected by dust please call EPA on 1300 372 842 (1300 EPA VIC) and/or contact your local GP.

    Safe work and environmental plans will be in place during any excavation works. This includes controlling dust and notifying adjacent residents and businesses of potential dust impacts.

  • Why was the operation allowed to continue for so long?

    The City of Greater Geelong issued a temporary permit for a small recycling facility at this site in 2013.

    The operator consistently breached planning permit conditions and the Council has battled for the past five years to have the facility brought into compliance or cease operating.

    In 2016 the Council applied to have the planning permit revoked, however VCAT ordered a permanent planning permit be issued. VCAT enforcement orders were issued for planning permit compliance, however the operator continued to breach the orders. Court action has been taken on several occasions.

Page last updated on 7 Aug 2019