EPA Victoria has approved the extension of a trial that will save weeks, and possibly months, in the work to end problems with hotspots and resulting odour at Kealba landfill.
During the month-long trial, the EPA permitted landfill operator Barro Group to speed up the cooling of excavated hotspot material by leaving it exposed to the air overnight.
Barro Group will now be permitted to continue with the trial method until 30 October under the regulation of the EPA, and continue air quality monitoring and community engagement as required by an EPA-issued Clean Up Notice.
The Clean Up Notice also requires the operator to enact a plan to prevent future hostpots and leakage from the landfill, conduct comprehensive air quality monitoring and keep the community informed of its remediation strategy and air quality monitoring results.
“We’ve really listened to our community in managing this difficult issue, and it is clear that together we want this fixed as quickly and safely as possible,” EPA Western Metropolitan Regional Manager Stephen Lansdell said.
According to an EPA statement, the decision to extend the trial came after discussions with some of the most affected residents, most of whom told the EPA that an earlier completion time is preferable, despite the increased odour they had experienced during the trial period.
“EPA’s analysis of the odour monitoring and community reports suggest the increase in odour during the trial is also partly attributable to the fact that remediation works have progressed into deeper, older and hotter waste, which typically creates more odour,” the statement reads.
“The completion date still depends on how large and hot the waste hotspots are, but the process of digging up and cooling each hotspot will now take considerably less time.”
The landfill is licensed to accept solid inert waste and shredded tyres, with four hotspots identified in late 2019.