State set to clean up Cleanaway Ipswich site stench

After almost six months of strong advocacy from council and the community, the State Government will direct Cleanaway to close and rehabilitate one of the landfill cells that has significantly contributed to the offensive odour emanating from the New Chum site.

The State Government confirmed as part of this week’s budget estimates that it had issued a notice to Cleanaway that it intends to change the conditions of its existing Environmental Authority, directing that the cell is closed, will not receive any waste, and is fully rehabilitated.

Growth, Infrastructure and Waste Committee Chair Ipswich Mayor Teresa Harding welcomed the State’s action as a win for the surrounding suburbs such as Riverview and Collingwood Park, who have had to bear the brunt of noxious odours for many years.

“Unfortunately, our residents are all too familiar with the offensive odours that arise from private landfills sites in Ipswich,” Mayor Harding said.

“The extreme rainfall from Ipswich’s February floods had pooled in a landfill cell at the Cleanaway site which has contributed significantly to a powerful odour blanketing several suburbs.

“Residents will no doubt be relieved to hear that the State intends to direct Cleanaway to permanently close the landfill cell and fully restore it.”

The odorous cell at the Cleanaway New Chum site, known as Cell 3B.

In an unusual move, council received a written request from the Department of Environment and Science on the same day as the estimates hearing urging council to take action against Cleanaway for non-compliance in relation to sediment control and stormwater management.

“This was an unexpected request from the Department of Environment and Science, the primary agency tasked with the responsibility of enforcing the compliance of private waste operators,” Mayor Harding said.

“Council has been working closely with the Department, Cleanaway and the community for months to resolve this particular issue.

“If council felt it had any grounds to undertake compliance action, it would have done so already.

“An initial review of the Department’s request indicates there is no evidence to support council taking compliance action against Cleanaway.

“Of course, we will continue to monitor and review the situation closely.”

New Chum Waste Disposal Facility

Cleanaway’s New Chum site, an engineered landfill, is located within a zoned industrial precinct on the site of a former coal mine and has been operating since 1998.

New Chum receives about 200,000 tonnes of waste from the Ipswich community and further afield each year. It includes construction waste, dry commercial waste and soils. The site is also licensed to accept limited regulated waste, including asbestos.

Landfill gas is currently being extracted from the landfill, largely methane resulting from decomposition of waste, for burning using a flare.

Division 3 Councillors Marnie Doyle and Andrew Fechner said they will continue to work alongside council officers daily to advocate for better outcomes for their residents.

“Council has always been proactive on this issue, as well as the numerous other issues impacting our residents daily,” Cr Doyle said.

“The odorous cell, known as Cell 3B, is just one of at least five primary landfill cells at Cleanaway’s New Chum site.

“We will continue to advocate strongly for residents on each and every waste and odour issue that originates from this area and affects the quality of life of our residents.

“The negative impacts of having a number of waste facilities and dumps in close proximity to residential areas have been significant for many years and quite rightly residents have had enough.”

Division 3 Councillor Andrew Fechner said council looks forward to continuing to work closely with the State Government on this issue.

“We welcome the announcement from the State on this particular issue, on behalf of Ipswich residents,” Cr Fechner said.

“Impacted residents have been very concerned about their health and wellbeing.”

People power recently put the proposed Remondis Energy from Waste
facility at Swanbank on the back burner.

Council has yet to receive notification from the Department of Environment and Science on the closure and rehabilitation of the Cleanaway cell, but it welcomes any opportunity to collaborate on this matter and understand the process involved.

Council is still waiting on a Planning and Environment Court ruling on an appeal from Cleanaway, Lantrak and BMI to expand their landfill sites at New Chum and Jeebropilly.

Council has spent close to $7 million to date to defend its decisions against the expansion or creation of private landfills in Ipswich.

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