A four-week operation has been undertaken at a site near Geelong, west of Melbourne, to remove 13,000 tonnes of contaminated soil. The material was uncovered at an illegal rubbish tip and contained metal contaminants and traces of asbestos.
The Victorian branch of the Environmental Protection Authority’s Manager for the project, Carl Gray, explained that the project was completed under strict controls from WorkSafe.
“Everything went well, and an independent Occupational Hygienist has provided an official asbestos clearance for the land formerly used to store the soil,” Mr Gray said.
While the initial portion of waste removal has been completed, there is still a large pile of timber to remove and an additional 320,000 cubic metres of demolition and construction waste, which is expected to be safely removed later this year.
The Victorian state government initially committed $30 million to begin the cleanup and to put in place security and fire safety measures. The final clean up cost is likely to cost around $100 million.
The whole project is expected to take 3 years to complete.
In court proceedings against the operators of the site, local Country Fire Authorities deemed the site a “catastrophic fire risk”.
David McAuliffe, the former operator, had a three-month jail term overturned on appeal, given an 18-month community corrections order and a $15,000 fine. He declared bankruptcy early in the court proceedings in VCAT, while the company, C&D Recycling, went into liquidation.