The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) Victoria has issued a routine Post Closure Pollution Abatement Notice for the closed Carisbrook Landfill, to ensure the aftercare of the landfill is managed to EPA requirements.
It is this site, not the active Carisbrook Transfer Station, which was recently placed on the EPA Priority Sites Register, as reported in the Maryborough Advertiser on Friday, 28 April. Below, Council answers some of your questions.
What is an abatement notice?
Abatement notices are used by the EPA to place new or updated requirements on sites. The current Abatement Notice requires Council to:
Why has the EPA issued the notice?
Council has an active program to meet the conditions placed on the landfill by the EPA. However, the EPA is continually upgrading its requirements, therefore Council must adjust its measures to ensure compliance. The abatement notice simply advises Council on how to make the necessary upgrades to comply with the new EPA standards.
What work has Council been doing at the closed landfill to date?
The former landfill has been monitored by scientific testing of existing bores, as well as visual inspection by Council for many years. It has not shown any signs of presenting a risk to human health or pollution.
In 2012 Council installed a 1.5 metre soil cap on the closed landfill at a cost of $1 million. The requirements to maintain oversight over the former landfill will last for at least 40 years.
Can Council manage the new requirements internally?
Gas monitoring locations have been prescribed and will require the installation of seven new gas bores. This is currently being tendered.
The EPA also requires annual performance assessment reports, and a biennial environmental audit, by an EPA approved environmental auditor.
What will the cost be to Council?
The environmental monitoring and auditing currently costs $50,000 per annum and the cost is expected to increase in the future.
This financial year, $33,000 has been expended on repair works to the soil cap, as well as on the required Financial Assurance that Council must carry in case of a pollution event.
Landfill maintenance works are also part of Council’s annual budget, and these are funded from the annual Municipal Waste Management Charge to rate payers.
Has an abatement notice for the landfill been issued before?
When it closed in March 2008, the landfill was issued a Pollution Abatement Notice to complete a Landfill Rehabilitation Plan, which required the landfill to be capped and rehabilitated.
The rehabilitation process involved EPA issuing two further Pollution Abatement notices: one to undertake a Hydrogeological Assessment of the landfill and surrounds; and the other to prepare an Aftercare Management Plan and Environment Monitoring Program. Both were audited by an environmental auditor.
Once the process was complete, the Pollution Abatement Notices were revoked.
A Post Closure Pollution Abatement Notice was issued in February 2016 to cover the ongoing aftercare management of the closed landfill and ensure the successful ongoing environmental monitoring program is adhered to.