Grant-funded projects strengthen landfill preparedness for emergencies

Bega Valley Shire Council is using a range of grant-funded projects to support recovery from the 2019/20 bushfires and prepare its landfill site for future emergencies, including bushfires and floods.

The Central Waste Facility's emergency landfill cell.

The Central Waste Facility’s emergency landfill cell.

14 May 2024

Bega Valley Shire Council is using a range of grant-funded projects to support recovery from the 2019/20 bushfires and prepare its landfill site for future emergencies, including bushfires and floods.

These projects were funded by the NSW Environment Protection Authority’s (EPA) Bushfire Recovery Council Landfills Program.

Waste Services Manager, Alan Gundrill said his team has strategically planned a sequence of emergency preparedness initiatives at the Central Waste Facility (CWF) near Wolumla in response to the 2019/20 bushfires.

“These projects were funded by a significant $4.2 million grant from the NSW Government, specifically aimed at assisting councils to assess impacts from the 2019/20 bushfires and make improvements to landfill sites in preparation for future emergencies,” Mr Gundrill said.

“A strategic look at key areas needing improvement within the CWF has placed us in a far better position to manage bushfire waste disposal while safeguarding the local environment surrounding our landfill facility.

“The individual projects were grouped into key areas requiring attention to improve emergency preparedness.

“These focussed on site improvements to our emergency landfill cell, due diligence work in preparing the site for future expansion and planning for the construction of a new organics processing facility at the CWF.

"Constructed in just six weeks in response to the Black Summer bushfires, the emergency landfill cell has seen significant improvements as part of this project."

“We have improved access to the emergency cell, installed a solar-powered weighbridge and gatehouse to better monitor incoming waste, and prepared for the next intake of emergency waste through capping, landscaping and managing sediment run-off.”

Mr Gundrill said the Black Summer bushfires also resulted in more waste going to landfill in general.

“In addition to preparing for an improved emergency response, we also focussed on our main landfilling area which continues to fill faster than it should,” Mr Gundrill said.

“This has meant investing in improvements to the way we landfill through adopting methods such as a retractable tarping system for daily cover of waste, and less reliance on clean fill.

"With numerous onsite projects and improvements underway, we are allocating part of the funding package to advance our CWF landfill expansion plans and establish an onsite Organics Processing Facility."

“This includes essential but costly processes such as design, planning, Aboriginal heritage consultations and the drafting of environmental impact statements.

"As we expand, it's imperative that we fulfill our role as responsible neighbours and environmental stewards. Initiatives are in place to address gully erosion onsite, undertake re-vegetation and explore the preservation of areas with significant cultural value.

“We are proud of how the Waste Services team has used the grant funding to prioritise and knit together a wide range of projects to keep the shire’s only active landfill site operating and delivering for the community for many years to come.

“Much of what we have delivered is covered in an online and interactive feature, called The Cuppa, which is currently being used in schools as a great waste education resource.”

This project is funded by the EPA Bushfire Recovery Program for Council Landfills.

To see The Cuppa interactive feature, visit Council’s website.

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