Minister calls for evidence of contaminated materials

Minister for the Environment and Minister for the Central Coast Mr Rob Strokes is encouraging anybody who believes contaminated materials have been disposed of in the Mangrove Mountain landfill to report it to the Environment Protection Authority (EPA).

Mr Stokes said there  were two separate areas on the Mangrove Mountain Memorial Golf Course that have received waste.

“One area is licensed by the EPA to receive nonputrescible general solid waste which includes: building and demolition waste (but not asbestos), paper, timber, asphalt, metal, tyres, bricks and soils,” said Mr Stokes.

“The EPA’s records show that 555,616 tonnes has been landfi lled in the licensed area between 2002 and early 2014.

“The second area is approved under a Gosford City Council consent to receive excavated material such as soil and clay, and the EPA does not licence or regulate this area.

“The size and extent of the final design and shape of the filling is regulated under the development consent issued by council.”

These matters are before the Land and Environment Court and the parties are in mediation to deliver an agreed outcome.

The matter is due before the court on October 17 when it is anticipated that orders will be handed down.

Mr Stokes said the EPA had investigated two reports of contaminated material being received at the golf course.

The first, in 2005 in relation to several pieces of CCA (copper, chrome, arsenic) treated timber identified in the disposed waste in the licenced area.

“This was confi rmed and the operator was fined,” said Mr Stokes.

The second, in 2012 was in relation to reports of noncomplying material being received in the council regulated area.

“The EPA dug a number of test pits in the area but did not identify any noncomplying waste,” he said.

“The EPA has since repeatedly called for evidence or reports from anybody, including council, who believe that contaminated materials have been disposed of in this land, but has not received any further evidence.”

Mr Stokes said the EPA is more than happy to investigate any allegations of inappropriate waste being received, or having been received on the site but so far, despite repeated calls for information, the EPA has not received any allegations or information that it can follow up.

“In relation to the size and extent of the final design and shape of the filling, the EPA is awaiting the outcome of the current court case between council and the operator and will assist council with whatever actions are required as a result of that resolution.

“The EPA’s role for the licenced portion of the site is around the environment protection licence which stipulates the types of waste that can be received and environmental monitoring.

“For the EPA licensed portion of the site, the Environment Protection Licence imposes strict design, operational and monitoring obligations on the landfill operator which includes the lining of cells and monitoring requirements to monitor and prevent environmental impacts – including for discharge points, groundwater and landfill gas.

“The latest environmental monitoring, conducted in 2012/13 as part of the EPA’s licence condition, confirmed that the landfill was not impacting the environment.

“The EPA has not received any contrary evidence, from council or anybody else, of likely impact – if that evidence exists then it needs to be reported to the EPA ASAP so we can investigate,” said Mr Stokes.

The EPA encourages any reports to be made to the Enviro Line 131 555.

Kaitlin Watts, 13 Aug 2014

Interviewee: Rob Stokes