Newcastle City Council's Summerhill Waste Management Centre is now accepting lead-contaminated soil from eligible Lake Macquarie properties.
The NSW Environmental Protection Agency has exempted Council from requirements to pay the waste levy on the lead-contaminated soil so Summerhill is able to receive it at the same disposal charge as mixed general waste (currently $275 per tonne), said Newcastle City Council Interim CEO Jeremy Bath.
"Our Summerhill waste facility now has a safe handling process in place allowing it to accept lead-contaminated soil from the properties affected by the former Pasminco site," said Bath.
"This means residents within that area have a local disposal option rather than having to take their contaminated soil to Sydney. The EPA exemption makes the cost of disposal about half of what it would otherwise be, so we are providing residents with reduced cost and greater convenience."
Disposal of lead-contaminated soil at Summerhill is limited only to those properties affected within the Pasminco Lead Abatement Strategy area and the levy exemption applies only to residential properties.
So, if you are a property owner within the LAS, what do you need to do to safely dispose of contaminated soil?
First, determine how you will haul the lead-contaminated soil to Summerhill. Landowners and/or residents do not need to use the services of a contractor to be able to use the disposal service, according to Jeremy Bath.
"It is fine for residents to haul the soil to Summerhill themselves but please consider the potential health impacts of removing lead-contaminated soil," he said.
"To ensure the safe handling, disposal and transportation of the waste, we have developed a five-step process in consultation with qualified environmental health professionals, which all landowners and residents must follow."
Five-step process - this is mandatory to be able to dispose of lead-contaminated soil at Summerhill Waste Management Centre
- Contact the NSW EPA
to register your details and receive a consignment number;
- Contact Summerhill Waste Management Centre
and register your details and consignment number;
- Follow the instructions provided and securely bag all lead-contaminated soil into the specially supplied Bulka Bags issued free of charge by Summerhill;
- Contact Summerhill and book a delivery time and date for the load; and
- Transport the bagged soil to Summerhill at the scheduled time.
"By following this process, residents are assured that the lead-contaminated soil can be received at Summerhill and also that the health and safety risks associated with handling and disposing of the soil are managed for themselves, their families, our staff and the community," said Bath.
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.
For more information, residents can contact the EPA Environment Line on 131 555 or Newcastle City Council on 4974 2000. Further information about lead safety can be found on the EPA's website, www.epa.nsw.gov.au
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