EPA conditions landfill to receive only Australian waste

Release date: 
June 4, 2024

A proposal to increase gate tonnage at the nation’s only commercial repository for Class IV and V waste has been recommended for approval by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA), subject to strict conditions to ensure acceptance of waste only generated in Australia.

Tellus Holdings’ Sandy Ridge facility, located 75km north-east of Koolyanobbing, began operating in 2021 and is licensed to accept 100,000 tonnes of waste per annum for 25 years. The new proposal occurs within the existing and approved development envelope and increases the tonnage to 280,000.

EPA Deputy Chair Lee McIntosh said that over nearly three years the public environmental review had assessed the proposal’s multiple potential impacts including flora, fauna and human health.

“The EPA recognises that disposal is the least preferred option for waste management, but we acknowledge there is also an ongoing need for a long-term permanent solution for hazardous and intractable wastes,” she said. “The conditions the EPA has recommended relate to leachate monitoring and management, waste diversion, minimisation and stewardship, and a decommissioning plan to manage rehabilitation and remediation to ensure it is physically safe for members of the public and non-human biota in the long term.

“Potential impacts to human health from the increased transportation and handling of hazardous and intractable wastes are low and are subject to conditions to minimise all risks to human health and the environment. They would also require regulation through legislation administered by the Radiological Council and the Department of Energy, Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DEMIRS), as part of the EPA’s use of provisions to consider other decision-making processes to mitigate impacts.”

The EPA report also noted that the facility was for low-level radioactive waste only and conditions had been recommended to prevent acceptance of any nuclear waste.

The EPA’s Sandy Ridge Facility – Alignment of Gate Waste Acceptance Tonnage report to the Minister for Environment is now open for a three-week public appeal period, closing 25 June 2024. Appeals should be directed to the Office of the Appeals Convenor. The Minister for Environment will make the final decision on the proposal. EPA Report 1767 can be found on the EPA website.

EPA Media Contact: Jenni.Storey@dwer.wa.gov.au 0434 734 997

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