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Environment Protection Authority

Lead soil disposal solution for Lake Macquarie residents

Media release: 3 August 2017

Lake Macquarie residents will be able to dispose of their lead-contaminated soil at the Summerhill Waste Management Centre from Monday 14 August, as part of a collaboration between the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA), Newcastle City Council and Lake Macquarie City Council.

EPA Regional Director North Adam Gilligan said the EPA has worked with Newcastle City Council on licence and procedural changes to allow the Summerhill Centre to receive lead contaminated soil from residences near the former Pasminco lead smelter in Boolaroo.

“The Centre now has a dedicated area to enable the safe disposal of lead contaminated soil.

“The EPA has varied the waste facility’s environment protection licence, putting in place conditions the Centre must abide by to ensure their accepting of lead contaminated soil does not present any harm to human health or the local environment,” Mr Gilligan said.

Residents living in North Lake Macquarie and within the Lead Abatement Strategy area can register to bring soil to Summerhill by contacting the EPA’s Waste Compliance team at Newcastle on ph: 4908 6800.  This will ensure the EPA can keep a record of properties that have participated and ensure the system is not being misused.

Mr Gilligan said residents in the area can begin to register and deliver their affected soil to the Summerhill facility from Monday 14 August, 2017.

“The EPA is aware that some residents will want to bring loads for disposal immediately, while others may not need to dispose of any contaminated soil until property works are underway, such as renovations, pool installations, or landscaping.

“There is no deadline by which residents must dispose of their waste at Summerhill – residents can continue to bring loads to the facility as long as they register those loads with the EPA in advance of visiting the facility.”

Residents will pay a reduced rate for disposal as the EPA has waived the waste levy that normally applies.

Member for Lake Macquarie, Mr Greg Piper said Boolaroo residents should not be disadvantaged by the history of where they live.

“I am pleased that the facility will be open immediately and there is no deadline for residents to dispose of their soil waste. 

“The opening of the disposal facility is a great result of work done by the Lead Expert Working Group, the Lake Macquarie Lead Community Reference Group which I chair, and with co-operation across the EPA, Newcastle City Council and Lake Macquarie Council,” Mr Piper said.

Newcastle City Council interim CEO Jeremy Bath said the new disposal option was a practical and effective solution for residents.

"While Summerhill Waste Management Centre is owned and operated by Newcastle City Council, it is very much a regional facility. We've worked closely with the EPA to expand the services we provide so that we can support the needs of people living in Lake Macquarie who through no fault of their own are dealing with lead contaminated soil."

The contaminated soil from the North Lake Macquarie area has been classified as restricted solid waste, on the basis of the concentration of lead in the impacted soils. 

Summerhill can now accept and dispose of this soil for $275 per tonne including all fees and levies, subject to strict conditions relating to storage and disposal. These conditions include:
• Immobilisation of the contaminated soil – that is, it will be stored in a specially constructed secure cell which prevents sediment runoff, contaminated leachate and generation of any dust;
• Covering of the contaminated soil on a daily basis to ensure there is no spread of contaminated soil or dust; and
• Groundwater monitoring will be undertaken to ensure contaminants are not leaching.
• Ensuring the waste is transported to Summerhill in accordance with the guidelines and procedures

Residents can get more information and find out if they are in the eligible area to dispose of their contaminated soil at Summerhill by viewing a map at:
http://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/MediaInformation/lake-macquarie-lead-soil.htm.

More information on the Lake Macquarie Lead Community Reference group is available on the EPA website. Membership of this group has been extended to December 2017 to ensure that the group can continue to oversee the implementation of this program.

Residents can get more information by contacting the EPA Environment Line on 131 555.

Landowners or residents need to be mindful of the health risks posed by lead waste.  Further information about removing lead waste can be found on the EPA’s website http://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/pesticides/lead-safety.htm or the SafeWork NSW website http://www.safework.nsw.gov.au/health-and-safety/safety-topics-a-z/hazardous-chemical/lead-work.

Contact: Public affairs

Page last updated: 03 August 2017