Land­fill to be cov­ered

Benalla Ensign - - Front Page -

Strath­bo­gie Shire Coun­cil has in­creased its pro­vi­sion for fu­ture costs to re­ha­bil­i­tate the Vi­o­let Town land­fill.

Fol­low­ing a de­tailed brief­ing on the his­tory of the land­fill, coun­cil is in the process of ex­plor­ing de­signs, time­lines and cost es­ti­mates.

The to­tal cost for re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion of the site and fu­ture mon­i­tor­ing is es­ti­mated be­tween $3.5 mil­lion and $5.5 mil­lion.

Ef­fec­tive re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion of the land­fill is one of the crit­i­cal mea­sures re­quired for coun­cil to meet its leg­isla­tive ob­jec­tives as a land­fill op­er­a­tor.

Earth­work at the land­fill in re­cent years has cov­ered the waste, but the cover is not suf­fi­cient to meet the En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Au­thor­ity (EPA) cri­te­ria for a per­ma­nent cap.

Earthen ma­te­rial pre­vi­ously placed at the site to cover the waste will be re­worked and will form a foun­da­tion for the sub­se­quent per­ma­nent cap.

Coun­cil must en­sure that the land­fill cap is de­signed and con­structed to meet cur­rent EPA stan­dards to min­imise the po­ten­tial of any detri­men­tal im­pacts from the land­fill.

The Cran­bourne land­fill gas dis­as­ter in 2008 high­lighted the is­sues of li­a­bil­ity around old land­fills that many Vic­to­rian coun­cils in­her­ited af­ter amal­ga­ma­tions in 1994-95.

As a re­sult of the dis­as­ter, EPA reg­u­la­tions were sub­stan­tially tight­ened prior to the clo­sure of the Vi­o­let Town land­fill in 2010.

Since then, coun­cil has been work­ing closely with the EPA to un­der­stand the level of re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion re­quired at the site and to be able to have the Vi­o­let Town land­fill clas­si­fied as ‘‘low risk for cap­ping pur­poses’’, which was for­malised ear­lier this year.

Strath­bo­gie Shire Mayor Amanda Mc­Claren said all mea­sures would be taken to find the most cost-ef­fec­tive so­lu­tion and to seek ex­ter­nal fund­ing to min­imise the cost to ratepay­ers.

‘‘We are cur­rently con­sid­er­ing fund­ing op­tions and have had ini­tial dis­cus­sions with lo­cal mem­bers about fund­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties,’’ Cr Mc­Claren said.

‘‘In any case, we will be tak­ing a staged ap­proach to this project over four years and no works will com­mence un­til the 2019-20 fi­nan­cial year.

‘‘Op­tions will be put for­ward to coun­cil for de­ci­sion in the com­ing months af­ter sig­nif­i­cant con­sid­er­a­tion and we will con­tinue to keep the com­mu­nity in­formed along the way.’’

Coun­cil is also in­ves­ti­gat­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties to ad­vo­cate for ac­cess to the fund­ing from the Vic­to­rian Gov­ern­ment’s $616 mil­lion Sus­tain­abil­ity Fund, gen­er­ated through waste levies.

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