Waste fa­cil­ity con­cerns

Weekend Courier - - Front Page -

THE Eastern Met­ro­pol­i­tan Re­gional Coun­cil has an­nounced a con­sor­tium led by Hi­tachi Zosen Inova as its pre­ferred ten­derer for a re­source re­cov­ery fa­cil­ity in east Rock­ing­ham this month.

The fa­cil­ity will di­vert from land­fill 96 per cent of the EMRC’s residential house­hold waste.

It will con­vert about 300,000 tonnes of waste per year into baseload re­new­able en­ergy, pro­duc­ing 28MW of elec­tric­ity at full ca­pac­ity – enough to power 36,000 homes.

The project rep­re­sents a $400 mil­lion in­vest­ment. It will cre­ate 300 jobs dur­ing con­struc­tion and 50 new full-time jobs over more than 30 years.

Na­tional Tox­ics Net­work sec­re­tary Jane Brem­mer raised con­cerns about the fa­cil­ity and an­other waste-to-en­ergy plant by Phoenix En­ergy planned for Kwinana.

Ms Brem­mer claims the fa­cil­i­ties will set the re­gion up as a “waste-burn­ing pol­lu­tion hotspot”.

“Both of th­ese in­cin­er­a­tors rep­re­sent a ma­jor en­vi­ron­men­tal health threat to the cit­i­zens of Rock­ing­ham, Kwinana and the whole south metro re­gion,” she said.

“It re­ally is a gross in­jus­tice for LGAs all over Perth to de­cide to send their waste to Rock­ing­ham and Kwinana.”

Ms Brem­mer said more ef­fec­tive and sus­tain­able ze­rowaste mod­els should be pur­sued.

An En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Author­ity spokes­woman said waste-to-en­ergy plants could be in­tro­duced in WA in an en­vi­ron­men­tally ac­cept­able man­ner.

“But th­ese state-of-the-art plants must meet in­ter­na­tion­ally recog­nised stan­dards for best prac­tice,” she said.

New En­ergy Cor­po­ra­tion chief ex­ec­u­tive Ja­son Pugh said the Rock­ing­ham plant would use the best avail­able tech­nol­ogy in the world.

“The waste go­ing to this fa­cil­ity will only ever end up as land­fill,” he said.

“Waste-to-en­ergy is recog­nised world­wide as much bet­ter sus­tain­ably and en­vi­ron­men­tally than land­fill.

“Any im­pacts from the plant will be assessed in a sci­en­tific and sys­tem­atic way by in­de­pen­dent pro­fes­sion­als at the EPA.”

Phoenix En­ergy man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Peter Dyson said the plant, in the heart of the Kwinana In­dus­trial Area, would be op­er­a­tional in the first quar­ter of 2021.

“Our plant has re­ceived all en­vi­ron­men­tal and plan­ning ap­provals re­quired to com­mence con­struc­tion,” he said.

“Th­ese ap­provals were sub­ject to rig­or­ous as­sess­ment by the rel­e­vant au­thor­i­ties and de­tailed pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion.

“The ap­provals do not per­mit im­ported wastes to be treated and have strict cri­te­ria on what are ac­cept­able wastes.

“Glob­ally, there are over 2000 such plants op­er­at­ing well within the strict Euro­pean Waste to En­ergy Emis­sion Lim­its,” Mr Dyson said.

“Any plant built in Perth will be a ‘best in class’ de­sign and there­fore tech­nolo­gies that can’t demon­strate a track record of com­pli­ance would be re­jected early in the ap­proval process.”

A City of Kwinana spokesman said the Phoenix fa­cil­ity was ap­pro­pri­ately lo­cated within the heavy in­dus­trial area.

“Once the fa­cil­ity be­gins op­er­at­ing… the en­vi­ron­men­tal emis­sions from the plant will con­tinue to be strictly mon­i­tored to en­sure pub­lic and en­vi­ron­men­tal health and safety re­quire­ments are be­ing fully com­plied with,” he said.

Vanessa Sch­mitt

An artist’s im­pres­sion of the East Rock­ing­ham Re­source Re­cov­ery Fa­cil­ity.

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