EPA completes two major clean-up projects

EPA clean up

EPA has finalised two of the most significant clean-up projects in Victoria’s history with the completion of works at 300-400 Broderick Road, Lara and the removal of chemical waste from a Dandenong South company.

Lee Miezis, EPA Chief Executive Officer, said the last truckload of waste has left the Broderick Road site, marking the end of a three-year project that eliminated a significant fire risk for the Lara and Geelong communities and the state.

“On April 30, 2019, EPA exercised its powers under Section 62 of the Environment and Protection Act (1970) to clean up the site on the basis that the stockpiles of waste posed an unacceptable risk to human health, safety and the environment in the event of a fire,” Miezis said.

“The amount of waste onsite, about 286,200 cubic metres, presented a challenge to remove safely, efficiently, and cost-effectively. In places, the pile was 20 metres high. The completion of this project on time, on budget and without any significant incidents, is a great achievement for EPA and for the project’s principal contractor Ausdecom.”

The EPA clean-up also included an interagency operations team to ensure co-ordinated action in keeping the community and the environment safe. The team included members from City of Greater Geelong, Fire Rescue Victoria, Victoria Police, WorkSafe, Department of Health and the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing.

Michael Fitzgerald, EPA Broderick Road Clean Up Project Manager, said EPA, along with an independent waste expert, had tested and surveyed the site to ensure it no longer posed an unacceptable risk to human health or the environment. The inspections included soil and water testing and ground penetrating radar scans to check below the surface of the former stockpiles.

“Our removal of the 286,200m3 of waste onsite included the recycling of about 22,000m3 of timber, 2000m3 of concrete and 70 large tyres,” Fitzgerald said. “The presence of asbestos in the rest of the waste limited our opportunities to recycle, but what could not be recycled was sent to appropriately licensed landfills.”
The final cost of the project would be determined once all contractors had demobilised from the site and the project was officially closed out, he said.  “The current project spend as at 31 May 2022 was approximately $71 million,” Mr Fitzgerald said

“We’ll continue to use our powers to work to recover the site’s clean-up costs through the courts.”

Miezis also confirmed the completion of the EPA clean-up of 1163 containers of chemical waste from David Barry Logistics in Dandenong South after a three month operation.

In March 2022, EPA started operations to remove about 1200 intermediate bulk containers (IBCs) of liquid chemical waste stored at the facility. The IBCs contained about 1000 litres of liquid each and were relocated from the former Bradbury Industrial Services chemical facility in Campbellfield in 2018 and from an unlicensed warehouse in Campbellfield in 2019.

Following a fire at Bradbury’s Campbellfield site in 2019, Bradbury went into liquidation and disclaimed interest in the IBCs.

“We stepped in to oversee the clean up using our powers under the Environment Protection Act 2017, recognising  the potentially serious risk to the community and the environment from the stored chemicals,” said Miezis.

“We worked closely with DBL and our contractor, Veolia, to ensure removal works were carried out safely and with minimal impact to the community, local businesses and the environment.

“EPA has increased its ability to ensure situations like this do not happen again with improved waste tracking and monitoring and an increased focus on the waste industry.”

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