Should an old quarry be used as a landfill


MEA made the following submission to EPA and to local MP, Martin Dixon, and the local conservation group, to express our concerns.

Objection to the PWM proposal to develop the site at 121 Boundary Rd. Dromana as a landfill – Application Number WA72215
On behalf of Mornington Environment Association Inc,(MEA) I wish to lodge an objection to the proposed landfill (‘dump’ ) application WA72215 at Dromana. Our Association is focused on environmental issues of the Peninsula and represents the community on committees at local and regional government levels and on other like-minded groups.
The members of our Association voice their numerous concerns to this Application as follows:
1. The quarry and its surrounding land are totally unsuitable for the proposed land fill as they are in the Green Wedge, adjacent to the valued Arthurs Seat National Park and other reserves, and surrounded by rural holdings and residential areas of Arthurs Seat, Dromana and Red Hill. The application Is inconsistent with the purposes of the Green Wedge Zone (Planning Policy Clause 35.04) especially the following clauses:
• “To recognise, protect and conserve green wedge land for its agricultural, environmental, historic, landscape, recreational and tourism opportunities, and mineral and stone resources.
• To encourage use and development that is consistent with sustainable land management practices.
• To protect and enhance the biodiversity of the area.”

The community has fought long and hard to preserve the Green Wedge on the Peninsula and to maintain the 30% urban and 70% rural land use developed by the Shire.
2. The proposed site is on the northern slopes of Arthurs Seat, which is a known high risk fire area – and has been subject to threatening fires in the past years. Fires in dumps are not uncommon and could well spread if weather conditions were adverse.
3. The access roads in the area are narrow, tree lined and unsuited for either large trucks carrying waste, or for fast evacuation of workers (or residents) in a bush-fire alert.
4. The proposed site is close to Sheepwash Creek and other water lines. These could become contaminated with leachate and then pollute other waterways or the groundwater in the area. The proposal ignores the high quality of the groundwater. This groundwater and the creeks are used for farming purposes and such land uses are the backbone of these communities. They also contribute to the attractive rural landscape which is sought after by both residents and tourist visitors to the area.
5. The area of Red Hill, Main Ridge and Arthurs Seat are major visitor areas. Tourists do not wish to visit an area where there is a dump.
6. A buffer zone will be required around the dump – so how much of the State Reserve will need to be cleared?
7. The proposal is for a single cell landfill with a liner, which is apparently to be built in stages. With the rocky walls of the quarry, this liner will be subject to stress with the risk of tearing and failure.
8. It appears that the likely impacts of odour and noise impacts to the surrounding areas of farms and residences have been underestimated.
Under certain weather conditions, what is the likely effect of the odour which affects cafes, wineries, the Park, tourist activities and other users? Odour does not just drift straight up.
9. The proposed routes of trucks carrying waste, and those contaminated leachate away will likely have a major impact on the surrounding areas. We understand that holding tanks will store the leachate for the first two years, and then the leachate (which will still be leaking), will have to be removed by trucks – moving through farming and residential and school areas. We have not been informed if there are to be wash-down facilities for trucks at the site.
10. The proposal would threatened flora and fauna around the area especially in the adjoining Arthurs Seat State Park, and apparently is in breach of the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988. Threatened species in the immediate area include several birds – Lewins Rail, the White bellied Sea Eagle, Powerful Owl, and the Southern Brown Bandicoot. These are included in the 32 special of regional significance of which eleven are of high local significance. The habitat corridors along roadsides also include several valuable and threatened plant species include Purple Eyebright and some orchids. As well, various grass species within the State Reserve (e.g. Clover Glycine and Tall Wallaby-grass), could be affected. Community groups have worked for years to preserve both the flora and fauna of this area and such efforts should not be undermined by opening up a dump.
11. The Site is part of the Ross Trust; this Trust was set up for the maintenance of the environment by any means. The use of this site for a dump does not appear to meet the criteria for the Trust and causes our members to have grave concerns about the objectives of the Trust.
12. In addition, the Shire itself pushes ‘sustainability’. Using a quarry, currently partly filled with water, as a dump – possibly for waste NOT generated within the Shire and possibly for putrescible waste, and within the Green Wedge, does not appear to be meeting the Shire’s criteria either. Mornington Peninsula Regional Waste Management Group (MPRWMG) Strategic Plan 2010-2015 focuses on recycling and reduction of wastes, not providing a dump for other Councils’ wastes.
13. The need for such a dump has not been proven, nor the necessity for using this site. Long term, the Shire’s waste management policies must offer better alternatives to filling up a quarry with non-recycled rubbish.
14. What also concerns us, as ratepayers of the Peninsula Shire, is who will be responsible for the dump after it closes? We understand that it will only operate for 20 years or so, yet its effects could be much longer lasting – especially if the groundwater is contaminated. We understand that the applicant is only tendering a 10-year bond.

We urge the EPA to consider this Application most carefully. We urge EPA to open up a forum or public meeting to consider options, alternatives and to carefully review the application.
MEA awaits further government action.