Thousands of cubic metres of material will leave a waste stockpile in Geelong this week, as the EPA begins removing truckloads of contaminated soil.
The Victorian EPA used powers granted under the Environment Protection Act 1970 to take over management at the stockpile in April, after the previous operator let recycling waste grow to dangerous levels.
In a statement at the time, Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said the process could take several years, with the state government providing $30 million for clean-up and fire prevention measures.
According to Ms D’Ambrosio, the stockpile contains an estimated 320,000 cubic meters of waste including timber, concrete, brick, plaster, glass and ceramics.
EPA South West Region Manager Carolyn Francis said the contaminated soil will be removed in a closely monitored operation over the next four weeks.
“The soil contains a variety of contaminants including metals, plastics and some asbestos, so the removal operation has been carefully planned,” Ms Francis said.
“The soil will be kept damp during loading to prevent any problems with dust, then sealed in plastic on site for safe transport in covered trucks to a licensed landfill in Melbourne, and will be tracked to their destination by EPA’s electronic Waste Transport Certificate system.”
Ms Francis said the EPA will run additional asbestos fibre air quality monitoring at the site during soil removal, which will be managed by an independent occupational hygienist.
“The removal of this hazard will clear some of the land around the edges of the property and remove a potential source of dust from the site,” Ms Francis said.
The site’s land will likely be sold to recover costs following the cleanup, according to the EPA’s website.