The first truckloads of construction and demolition (C&D) waste will be removed from a waste stockpile in Lara this week, in a clean up that could take several years.
The stockpile, at Broderick Road, is expected to cost more than $30 million to clean up, which the Victorian government is funding after taking over management of the site.
On September 16, the Victorian government announced the clean-up will take place after poor site management practices by the previous operator let the recycling waste grow to dangerous levels – resulting in an unacceptable fire risk to the local community, the environment and emergency services.
The site contains an estimated 320,000m3 of mostly C&D waste, including materials such as timber, concrete, bricks, plaster, glass and ceramics.
The first stage will be the processing and removal of a 27,000 cubic metre stockpile of timber, weighing an estimated 3,500 tonnes.
Member for Lara, John Eren, said the site has been an eyesore and a concern for the local community for far too long.
“I know the residents of Lara will be thrilled to see this dangerous waste gone for good.
“This is just the start of a mammoth clean-up effort and we’ll keep working at it until every last piece is disposed of once and for all,” Eren said.
The City of Greater Geelong will project manage the works on behalf of the EPA and the government. It will manage the interim fire risk measures at the site with maintaining 24/7 security, secure fencing and maintenance of firefighting equipment.
In April, it was announced that the EPA used its powers under the Environment Protection Act 1970 to take over management of the stockpile. Now, the EPA is rigorously pursuing the previous site occupiers, owners, company directors and any other relevant parties to recover the costs of the fire prevention measures and clean up.
Since August 2017, EPA has had additional powers to support Victoria’s fire services and issue remedial notices to facilities not properly managing potential fire risks.
These powers will be strengthened further under the new Environment Protection Act which will come into effect on 1 July 2020, to prevent situations like this in the future.
Victoria’s Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Lily D’Ambrosio, said the state government is cleaning up the waste stockpile to help protect the Lara community.
She said the government is putting the rubbish where it belongs.