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Environment Protection Authority

EPA welcomes decision on Gardenland composting facility

Media release: 17 March 2017

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) welcomes the judgment handed down by the Land and Environment Court this week imposing strict conditions on the development of the Gardenland composting facility located near Port Stephens.

In November 2014 the EPA refused to issue general terms of approval for the development of a composting facility because of a lack of measures in place to adequately protect the environment and community, considering its location in a major catchment area for the Hunter region’s drinking water.

EPA Chair and CEO Barry Buffier said he was pleased with the outcome which has the health of the community and the environment at its centre.

“The decision handed down by the Land and Environment Court is a good result for the people of the Lower Hunter,” said Mr Buffier.

“It recognised that the tough environmental safeguards proposed by the EPA should be in place to protect the Hunter Region’s Water supply.”

Port Stephens Council General Manager Wayne Wallis said he was glad to have worked with the EPA for a good environmental outcome.

"The decision ensures that our drinking water is not compromised by the development and that's a great result," said Mr Wallis.

The Land and Environment Court decision outlined the following strict conditions that must be met: 

  • The receiving area must be covered and all composting operations must occur under a roof
  • All outside organics and waste storage areas must be lined with a barrier of at least 600mm thickness and permeability of 10-9m/s
  • All dams with leachate from the organics and waste storage area must be lined with a composite liner with permeability of 10-9m/s and at least 900mm compacted clay. The liner must be overlaid with a flexible membrane liner
  • No landscaping materials stored outside can contain more than 5% compost materials
  • Preparation of an Operational Environmental Management Plan and a Composting Operations Plan - to be approved by the EPA. 

The EPA will now work with Port Stephens Council and Gardenland to map out a plan for the court orders to be implemented, and to undertake the assessments outlined in the orders

Contact: EPA Public Affairs

Page last updated: 17 March 2017