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Port Sorell Waste Transfer Station - Rehabilitation Project

PORT SORELL WASTE TRANSFER STATION – REHABILITATION PROJECT

The Latrobe Council has been working on a development plan for Port Sorell, Hawley Beach and Shearwater for a number of years.

The plan includes a proposal to rehabilitate the Waste Transfer Station on the corner of Alexander Street and Hawk Hill Road and convert all or part of it into a recreation zone with walking and cycling tracks.

Before it was a Waste Transfer Station, the site was the local tip accepting household garbage and industrial waste from 1973 until 1995.

To make sure the site is safe for the new community uses, Council engaged environmental consultants to do preliminary tests to better understand what contamination was on the site, how or where it could move offsite, and provide expert rehabilitation advice.

The next stage of the rehabilitation project is known as a 'Detailed Site Investigation'. This stage will use the preliminary test results to guide what to look for (and where) and to plan the best method, equipment and time needed for the site rehabilitation to be completed.  Detailed assessments will take place at the Waste Transfer Station, along the creek and at the golf course.

This next stage may take between 9 - 11 months, depending on what additional information is discovered while undertaking the work. You may see activities such as fencing, soil and water sampling, drilling and excavation during this time which will be part of the rehabilitation process.

PRELIMINARY SITE TESTS

From late 2017 to May 2018, tests were taken looking for potential tip contaminants in surface water, bore water, sediment and air. Samples were taken at the Waste Transfer Station, in the creek running through the site and downstream, in bore water downhill of the site (golf course) and from the creek outlet at Freers Beach.

Council, with advice from the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA), will continue to monitor these locations during the rehabilitation project.

Sediment and Water:

A range of contaminants were found, similar to what would be expected of an old tip. Landfill water - known as leachate – may be able to move offsite in drains, creeks and underground, and containing this water and improving its quality will be a key part of the rehabilitation project.

Some tests found traces of hazardous materials you may have heard about elsewhere - such as PFAS, metals and dioxins. The presence of PFAS in leachate and sediment is not uncommon in Australian landfills as they were used in household products including non-stick surfaces and fabric cleaners for many years.

The low levels detected in our preliminary tests are not cause for alarm and they will be monitored to understand any changes at the site.

Samples collected downstream of the site of creek water and bore water at the golf course revealed the presence of some contaminants with the potential to negatively impact the environment.

The test results were within guidelines for human contact but exceeded measures for drinking water quality at some locations.

Results for Freers Beach were safe and the town water supply and rainwater tank supplies are not affected.

Landfill gas:

Most old tips generate landfill gas when plant matter and food waste breaks down. The preliminary tests did find gas but not above the guideline levels outside of the site.

Minimising the escape of landfill gas from the site will be another key part of the rehabilitation project.

Download the full consultant reports and findings here:

Preliminary Site Investigation (PSI)(19272 kb) by Bluesphere Environmental and Elgin Associates

Offsite Sampling and Preliminary Risk Review Report(5860 kb) by Elgin Associates

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR ME?

Council shared the initial test results and consultant reports with EPA Tasmania and the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). The results were also examined by an independent human health risk assessor.

While the next stage of testing is completed, as a precaution, it is recommended:

  • Avoid drinking creek or bore water around the Waste Transfer Station site.
  • Avoid swimming in the creek or downstream dams to prevent accidental ingestion of water.
  • Do not eat any fish or shellfish caught in the creek.
  • Do not use creek or bore water on vegetables or fruit trees.  Do not use creek water on lawns.
  • Comply with any signs and instructions at the Waste Transfer Station site, e.g. no smoking, no access to some areas.

The Port Sorell town water supply and any rain water supplies are not affected by the rehabilitation project and should be used as alternatives to creek or bore water while the testing is underway.

DO YOU USE A BORE WATER SOURCE ON YOUR PROPERTY?

Contact Council’s Executive Assistant, Sarah Cairns, on 6426 4444 to arrange free testing of your bore water quality.  Council is endeavouring to contact all registered bore owners in the vicinity of the site, but if you haven’t heard from us, please do not hesitate to call Sarah.

STAY IN TOUCH

Council is committed to keeping the community informed of the rehabilitation progress and advice regarding public and environmental safety.

We’ve compiled some frequently asked questions which you can download here:

Frequently Asked Questions

Visit this page for updates as they become available.  You can also contact Council's Executive Assistant, Sarah Cairns on 6426 4444 to have your questions noted and followed up.  Council will also publish updates in the Council newsletter, town noticeboards and in the local media as required.

Thank you for your cooperation during this important rehabilitation project.

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Latrobe Tasmania 7307
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